Former chancellor George Osborne to become full-time banker

Former Tory MP is dropping nearly all current jobs to work at investment bank Robey Warshaw

George Osborne, the former chancellor who orchestrated the austerity drive after the financial crisis, is dropping his portfolio career to become a full-time banker.

Osborne announced on Monday that he is giving up nearly all his current jobs to become a partner at the investment bank Robey Warshaw. The former Conservative MP is currently editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard and the chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. He is also paid £650,000 a year for working one day a week as an adviser to the fund manager Black Rock.

It is unclear how much Osborne will be paid at Robey Warshaw, which has advised on some of the largest UK takeovers since it launched in 2013. However, filings at Companies House show that the highest paid partner at Robey Warshaw collected £10m in 2020 and £27.8m in 2019.

Sir Simon Robey, a former Morgan Stanley banker, is understood to be the majority-partner who has earned at least £137m since founding the boutique investment bank.

Osborne, 49, will join Robey and the other founding partners Simon Warshaw and Philip Apostolides.

The Mayfair-based bank, which employs 13 people, made a profit of £17.9m last year. That was a 63% decline on 2019 profits of £48.4m, which works out at £3.7m per employee.

Robey Warshaw said in its latest accounts that it paid no tax last year. “The partnership is not liable for any tax due on the profits for the year. It is therefore the responsibility of the individual members to settle any liability arising from their share of partnership profits,” the bank said in its Companies House filing.

In a quote given to the Financial Times, Osborne said: “Robey Warshaw is the best of the best, advising great businesses on how to grow, and I’m proud to be joining this first-rate team.”

The bank, which operates from offices on Grosvenor Square, said: “We believe that George will significantly enhance the advice we give to clients. He brings differentiated experience and expertise to our team from his leading roles in global finance over the past decade.”

Charles Yardley, chief executive of the Evening Standard, said Osborne would be leaving his position as the paper’s editor-in-chief in March. “We thank him for everything he has helped the Evening Standard achieve over the last four years … We wish him well in his new role.”

Responding to Osborne’s appointment, the former Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “The revolving door between Tory government and the City has always been extremely lucrative. This latest example is a timely reminder that finance and the City have had a profitable pandemic.”

The Labour MP Jon Trickett said: “It’s an unhealthy development that you can be chancellor of the exchequer, in charge of the banks one day trying to put right what the bankers did wrong, and then later in your career you’re working as a full-time banker. It shouldn’t happen.”

Osborne role is expected to involve helping the bank’s clients, including British Gas owner Centrica, Vodafone and BP, as well as using his connections to drum up fresh business.

The bank recently advised the London Stock Exchange Group on its $27bn (£19.8bn) purchase of Refinitiv, a data provider, from the private equity group Blackstone.

Warshaw was previously a lead banker at UBS, while Apostolides used to work at Morgan Stanley with Robey.

Osborne had built up a portfolio of nine jobs since leaving government in 2016, ranging from newspaper editing, fund management, teaching and advising the government on levelling up the north of England.

He was appointed editor of the Evening Standard in 2017, but stepped aside to become editor-in-chief of the newspaper last summer. Osborne was succeeded at the title, which is owned by the Russian multimillionaire Evgeny Lebedev, by Emily Sheffield, a former deputy editor at Vogue. Sheffield’s sister Samantha is married to the former prime minister David Cameron, who along with Osborne oversaw the cuts in public spending during the coalition government of 2010-2015.

Osborne will remain chair of the advisory board of Exor, which manages the Italian Agnelli family’s interest in Juventus and Ferrari.

Osborne extended his property empire last year by buying a £1.6m five-bedroom Grade II-listed Georgian home in Bruton, a town in Somerset that has become popular with wealthy Londoners looking for a second home in the country.


Rupert Neate and Simon Murphy

The GuardianTramp

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