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Ex-Chancellor Hammond joins London crypto firm

·2-min read

Former chancellor Lord Hammond has thrown his weight behind the cryptocurrency craze by joining specialist start-up Copper, his latest private sector job since quitting politics.

Lord Hammond has been hired as a senior adviser to the London-based crypto trading firm, which was founded in 2018 and is backed by Brevan Howard's billionaire co-founder Alan Howard.

The move comes weeks after Lord Hammond was cleared of breaching lobbying rules while assisting another fintech firm he advises, Oaknorth. He now has at least four private sector jobs.

Known as "Spreadsheet Phil" or "Fiscal Phil" while he was chancellor for his focus on detail and tight grip on the public purse, the lifelong Conservative quit politics before the December 2019 election amid one of the biggest parliamentary bloodbaths in history.

The Remain supporter was among those pushed out of the party after rebelling against the Government to try to block a no-deal Brexit.

He went on to return to his business roots after 22 years in the House of Commons by taking up an advisory role with challenger bank OakNorth, one of the few financial technology firms to turn a profit, and joining the board of glass bottle maker Ardagh. He also became a partner at private investment firm Buckthorn last year.

It is not known how much Lord Hammond earns from his various private sector roles. His predecessor George Osborne, now a banker, courted controversy after leaving government and taking on a slew of private sector positions including advising Blackrock in a £650,000-a-year role and becoming editor of the Evening Standard on a reported £200,000 a year.

Lord Hammond was a staunch supporter of the fintech industry while he was chancellor, spearheading a swathe of new schemes to boost the sector amid concerns Britain could lose out to other countries ahead of Brexit.

He was a businessman from a young age, his ventures ranging from running discos for teenagers out of church halls in Essex to selling church brass rubbings to tourists.

He co-founded Castlemead, which builds doctor’s surgeries, in 1984 and for two years acted as a consultant to the government of Malawi.

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