Former UK chancellor Sajid Javid has become an adviser to US investment bank JPMorgan (JPM), sparking criticism from the political opposition in his West Midlands constituency.
Javid remains a Conservative MP for Bromsgrove, after a fallout with prime minister Boris Johnson saw him quit as finance minister in February.
He had previously worked in the currencies and emerging markets division of Chase Manhattan, which merged with JPMorgan, before entering politics in 2010 after two decades in investment banking.
A spokesperson for the financial services giant told Reuters: “We are delighted to welcome Sajid back to JPMorgan as a senior adviser, and we look forward to drawing upon his in-depth understanding of the business and economic environment to help shape our client strategy across Europe.”
Javid will join the bank’s EMEA advisory council, a group of senior business and political leaders. The council “meets periodically throughout the year to review business opportunities and challenges and to refine our client strategy for the region,” according to an internal memo shared with Yahoo Finance UK.
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Javid joins after one of the most short-lived spells as chancellor in British history, dramatically walking out earlier this year. He was replaced by Rishi Sunak just as the coronavirus crisis hit, thrusting the new chancellor into the spotlight.
Javid left after reportedly being offered an ultimatum. He is said to have been told he could only stay on if he sacked all his advisers, allowing Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings to choose their replacements.
Analysts called it a “blatant power grab” at the time. The choice of a more loyal Johnson ally in Sunak was seen as paving the way for a ‘populist’ Budget before the pandemic spread, dwarfing other government priorities.
The former finance minister's decision to take up the new role while still an MP has already sparked political controversy in his constituency, however.
David Nicholl, who stood for the Lib Dems in Bromsgrove last December, said in a statement: "At a time of a national crisis, we need our MP totally focused on the solutions to Covid-19 and finding the best way forward for the people of Bromsgrove. It is extremely disappointing that he will now be distracted by this post with JPMorgan rather than the job in hand."
Bromsgrove's Labour party retweeted comments by Simon Foster, Labour police and crime commissioner candidate in the West Midlands, who claimed MPs taking seconds jobs "brings parliament and our democracy into disrepute."
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But a spokesperson for Javid said representing his constituents “is and always will be Sajid’s first priority,” and said he would work only around 10 to 12 days a year in the role.
“There is nothing more important to Sajid than being the MP for Bromsgrove. It is not unusual for backbench MPs take on advisory roles,” he added.
Another former chancellor, George Osborne, faced widespread criticism for taking up multiple roles in addition to his parliamentary duties after leaving the Treasury. He left parliament in 2017 and is now editor-in-chief of London’s Evening Standard newspaper.
Javid’s latest appointment is understood to have been approved by the UK government’s advisory committee on business appointments (ACOBA).
MPs are also obliged to declare their financial interests to parliamentary authorities within a month. The latest available data shows Javid was paid £30,000 by another bank, HSBC, in June for four hours' work preparing and delivering two speeches to their clients on 5 June. He received another £15,000 by management consultancy Blenheim Chalcot for an online speech, but donated the fee to charity.