Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has topped Forbes' rich list for the seventeenth time and third year in a row.

Gates remains the richest person in the world with a net worth of $75 billion (NZ$112 billion), despite losing a significant $4.2 billion since last year.

Graeme Hart is the richest New Zealander ranking in 178th place, followed by Richard Chandler in 638th place.

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Second in throne for the world's richest person is Zara's chief executive Amancio Ortega.

Warren Buffett ranks in third place, followed by Carlos Slim Helu of Telecom and Jeff Bezos.

Forbes reported that only two people from the top 20 were able to retain their rank.

In the 30 years of recording wealth, 221 people have fallen off of Forbes' rich list, while 198 newcomers have taken to the ranks.

Eight people in the top 10 ranks are from the United States.