Philip Hammond adds cryptocurrency role to post-Treasury jobs list – The Guardian

The former chancellor Philip Hammond has added another job to the dozen or so he has taken on since leaving the Treasury in 2019, this time as an adviser to a Mayfair-based cryptocurrency trading firm.

Lord Hammond, who also served as foreign secretary and was an early supporter of bitcoin and other digital currencies, joined Copper.co with immediate effect on Monday.

The former chancellor, who was said to be one of the wealthiest ever cabinet ministers with a fortune once estimated at 8.2m, has taken up as many as 14 paid and unpaid jobs since leaving politics after a bust-up with Boris Johnson over Brexit.

Hammond was last month criticised by Westminsters lobbying watchdog for using his government connections to assist OakNorth, a bank he is paid to advise.

Starting out as a schoolboy running church hall discos, then becoming a medical equipment entrepreneur, Philip Hammond has been involved in an eclectic mix of business ventures. In two years since leaving office he has been given the green light by the UKs lobbying watchdog, Acoba, for 14 roles, including advising three Gulf states and working with several companies set up by Tory peers.

1. Non-executive director, Ardagh

Hammonds first appointment after quitting politics was with the Luxembourg-based metal and glass packaging firm, on an estimated salary of 125,000.

2. Adviser to OakNorth

Hammond joined the board of SoftBank-backed British fintech bank alongside Conservative ex-minister Francis Maude and former senior regulators Adair Turner and Martin Stewart.

3. Keynote speaker, Washington Speakers Bureau and London Speakers Bureau

Last year Hammond applied for part-time paid appointments at these two events agencies. Being on their roster opens up opportunities for lucrative after-dinner speeches to corporate clients.

4. Adviser to Canary Wharf Group

He joined the board of the property company last summer. It is chaired and was until recently run by Sir George Iacobescu, a Romanian-born British property chief who helped transform the once-barren London Docklands estate into Canary Wharf.

5. Senior adviser, Chatham House

Hammond joined the international affairs thinktank in June 2020 and speaks on panels discussing international economic policies.

6. Adviser to Saudi Arabias finance minister.

Hammond had previous ties with the minister, having advised him on Saudi Arabias G20 presidency.

7. Adviser to FMA Partners

The consultancy was founded by Maude and co-run with Simone Finn, who was appointed as a non-executive director of the Cabinet Office last May. Its latest filing of accounts registered assets of 209,000.

8. Adviser to Nomura

Hammond joined one of Japans largest investment banks.

9. Adviser to Apidae

The Essex-based management consultancy is run by Boris Johnsons fintech ambassador, Alastair Lukies.

10. Co-chair of Future Economy Surrey Commission

The council-run body commissions reports about Surreys economic health and sets out solutions for post-pandemic recovery.

11. Partner at Buckthorn

The energy investment firm is run by Colin Moynihan, a former Conservative MP and hereditary peer.

12. Adviser to Bahrains finance minister

Acoba cleared Hammond to accept a paid, part-time role advising the country on a programme of economic and fiscal reform.

13. Adviser to Kuwait Investment Office

The office is part of the Gulf states sovereign wealth fund, with estimated assets of $592bn. Hammond told Acoba he would advise on economic challenges and investment opportunities.

14. Nominated for a peerage

Boris Johnson awarded a life peerage to Hammond in February 2020.

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Eric Pickles, a former cabinet colleague who chairs the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), said it was an unwise step for Hammond to contact a senior Treasury official about a project developed by OakNorth.

Lord Pickles said Hammonds use of his contacts in government was not consistent with the intention of the rules and was not acceptable because of the privileged access you obtained for OakNorth.

Hammond, who also served as defence secretary, was later cleared of breaching lobbying rules after an investigation by the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL), an independent body that monitors lobbying activities of former ministers and senior civil servants.

ORCL accepted Hammonds argument that, since lobbying was not his main activity, there was no need for him to register as a lobbyist working on behalf of a third party.

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Copper said Hammond would focus on promoting the UK as a global leader in digital asset technology. The firm, which was founded in 2018, recently announced plans to expand into the US and Asia and secured $75m (55m) of investment from the British billionaire hedge fund manager Alan Howard and the venture capital firms Dawn Capital and Target Global.

Hammond said Copper was a true pioneer of crypto and digital asset investment technology. But the really exciting opportunity lies in the application of this technology to revolutionise the way financial services are delivered, he said. If we can bring together the best of Britain entrepreneurs, industry, government, and regulators to create and enable a blockchain-based ecosystem for financial services, we will secure the UKs global leadership in this field for decades ahead.

Dmitry Tokarev, the chief executive of Copper, said: We would like to drive growth in our client base within a regulatory framework which will allow us to thrive globally from our London headquarters. With Lord Hammonds expertise adding to the strength of our team, we look forward to growing Copper and further enhancing the UKs digital asset technology offering.

As chancellor, Hammond had called for light-touch regulations for cryptocurrencies. I am interested in bitcoin. The Bank of England, as you know, among the central banks, has been leading on looking at bitcoin, he said in 2018. What is really important is that in regulating cryptocurrencies, we dont inadvertently constrain the potential of the technology that underlies it, the blockchain technology, which has a wider and more important application.

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Philip Hammond adds cryptocurrency role to post-Treasury jobs list - The Guardian

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