Modern business billionaires have global fame. Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Jack Ma are household names. Even tycoons from a previous age, such as John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie have become the stuff of legends.
For better or worse, the average multi-billionaire lives life in a way that most of us can barely imagine. And that’s exactly what makes the story of Hong Kong tycoon Calvin Lo so shocking and impressive. Despite having never appeared on any wealth ranking, Lo is secretly one of the richest people in the world with Forbes estimating his personal net worth at $1.7 billion.
Lo is the CEO of R.E. Lee International, a life insurance broker that specializes in dealing with ultra high net worth individuals. It is estimated that Lo’s group places $1 billion of premiums annually, making them one of the most successful brokers in the world. He also founded R.E. Lee Capital, a hedge fund with a few billion dollars under management.
Lo is known for his privacy and modesty. He hasn’t given any public interview. Public filings shows that Lo is a very active philanthropist, but never seek headlines for his giving. It seems as though Lo’s goal is to own the largest company you have never heard of and be the richest person you never hear about.
So how does such a supremely media-shy billionaire travel? Even though Lo do travel commercial (first class no less) every now and then, he prefers to enjoy his success in anonymity and his G650 allows him to fly without being recognised. With a list price of nearly $65 million, you will have to wait for nearly four years to get one after you sign up. There are less than 20 of these extremely luxurious planes registered in Asia.
When Lo is on the ground, he has all the finest machines money can buy. From the Rolls Royce Phantom to Lamborghini Aventador to Mercedes G65 AMG, he has it all. The Pagani Huayra BC, however, is the jewel on the crown in his car collection. This iconic model is usually in any billionaire’s car collections. With a wonderful design, the Italian made car is valued at $2.5 million and only 20 have been made. This camera-shy billionaire goes around town, however, in his chauffeured-driven Mercedes Maybach.
Being one of the richest in Hong Kong, Lo lives in a $70 million house in one of the most exclusive addresses. Sure it’s one of the more expensive properties in the neighbourhood, but it is a far cry from the lavish few hundred million dollar mansions most billionaires call home. Perhaps the only real sign that Lo is a billionaire is the fact that he also happens to own properties in Singapore, Tokyo, London, Vancouver, and Los Angeles, just to name a few cities. But in his main hometown of Hong Kong, Lo is frequently seen wining and dining with close friends.
The nouveau riche want the world to sit up and take notice. The ultra-rich have already transitioned through that moment and prefer discretion. Lo is even beyond discretion and lives his life in secrecy. His ability and desire to stay under the radar of the public is a signal of how really important and influential he is.