Warren Buffett has slid down the Bloomberg Billionaires Index after giving away US$2.9 billion (AU$4.15 billion) in Berkshire Hathaway shares as part of his plan to give away most of his fortune.
The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is considered one of the most successful investors of all time, and his wealth has grown accordingly: he’s regularly been listed among the top five wealthiest people in the world, according to Bloomberg.
But since 2006, Buffett has been giving his huge fortune away, with this marking the 15th instalment.
His most recent gift takes him to eighth place on Bloomberg Billionaires Index, from fifth place in June.
“Mr. Buffett envisions that all of the Berkshire shares he owns at his death will be distributed to various philanthropic organisations over the following 12 years," Berkshire Hathaway said in a statement.
"The recipients of the gifts will be obliged to both spend their gifts in a prompt manner and to prevent their use, either directly or indirectly, for any kind of endowment purpose."
Buffett and Bill Gates formed The Giving Pledge in 2010 with a goal of encouraging extremely wealthy people to give away the majority of their wealth to charities and philanthropic groups.
Who got the money?
Buffett split the gift between five charities: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Sherwood Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation.
This gift takes the total value of Buffett’s donations to US$37 billion, based on the share price at the time of giving.
In a statement, Berkshire Hathaway emphasised that these were gifts and that Buffett has not sold any shares in the company.
The statement also addressed claims Buffett was giving the funds away for tax purposes.
“Mr. Buffett has received only minor benefits from tax deductions arising from his gifts to the five foundations. During the 15-year span of his program, including projected figures for 2020, every $1,000 of contributions he has made ... has allowed him to deduct slightly less than $1 from his taxable income,” the statement read.
The statement said Buffett has had his income taxes reduced by around 43 cents for every US$1,000 of value he has given the foundations.