Bill Gates is back as the leader of the prestigious billionaires club.

The co-founder of Microsoft has taken his position as richest man in the world for the first time in four years, after his fortune rose $9 billion this past year, Forbes announced.

The No.1 spot has been held by Mexico's telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu for the past four years, but now he slides to second place.

Gates, who has held the top spot for 15 of the past 20 years, now has a fortune of $76 billion.

This past year's biggest earner was Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune rose a massive $15.2 billion, to a total of $28.5 billion, which placed him at No.21.

In terms of countries with the most billionaires, USA takes first place with 492, China falls in second 152 and Russia in third with 111.

Forbes reports 1,645 billionaires made this year's list which is a new record, and the average net worth of $4.7 billion. This has risen since last year as there were only 1,426 billionaires last year with a net worth of $4.2 billion.

There were 268 first-time billionaires which is also a new record, with the prior high of 226 newcomers, coming 6 years ago in 2008.

One notable newcomer is WWE owner, and chairman, Vince McMahon with a reported net worth of $1.2 billion.

Countries that took a big hit were Turkey, which lost 19 billionaires, and Indonesia, which is eight people lighter than last year.

Altogether 100 people did not return to the list, and another 16 had passed away.

All Forbes' estimates derive from a look at each individual's wealth on February 12th, when they look at stock prices and exchange rates from around the globe.

Vince McMahon
WWE's Vince McMahon made the Billionaires list for the first time