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Jacob Rees-Mogg steps down from role at investment firm

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Jacob Rees-Mogg founded Somerset Capital in 2007. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Hardline Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday appointed Leader of the House of Commons, has stepped down from his role at Somerset Capital, the investment firm he founded.

The ministerial code advises ministers to avoid conflicts of interest. Though Rees-Mogg is technically not a full member of cabinet, he will attend cabinet meetings.

“We wish him well as he now steps down immediately from his part-time role in accordance with the ministerial code,” Oliver Crawley, a partner at Somerset, said in a statement.

“Jacob was one of the co-founders of Somerset Capital Management when it was started in 2007. He played an integral role in helping to shape the firm and Somerset’s early success,” the investment firm said.

While Rees-Mog will step back from the day-to-day running of the company, the ardent Brexit campaigner is thought to own at least 15% of its shares, and remains a partner.

Publicly available accounts for Somerset Capital show that it made £34.1m in operating profit in 2018, up from £14.7m in 2015.

Members of the firm shared in some £25m of those profits last year, while Rees-Mogg drew down a salary of almost £186,000 from the company in the year to January 2019.

It is not clear, however, how much Rees-Mogg, who was thought to work just 30 hours a month for the firm, earned in dividend payments.

Somerset hit the headlines last year when it set up two funds in Dublin — a move that will give it access to the European Union after Brexit.

Speaking about the decision to Channel 4, Rees-Mogg insisted it had nothing to do with Brexit, noting that he was a fan of Ireland’s investment regime.

“The way the global financial system works is that different jurisdictions are suitable for different investors,” he said.

“Ireland ... is a particularly attractive place for funds, irrespective of Brexit.”