George Osborne is taking on a lucrative six-figure role as an adviser to BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager.
The former chancellor has already earned considerable amounts in the private sector since Theresa May sacked him as chancellor, with speeches to Wall Street banks helping to make him the highest earning MP in 2016.
He has not yet revealed how much he will earn in his BlackRock role, but he will have to declare the amount in the MPs register of interests. He will remain as the Conservative MP for Tatton – but the timing of the announcement, hours before the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president, infuriated Labour.
Osborne’s fees from US appearances during the autumn topped £600,000, including £85,396.24 from Citibank for two speeches, £34,109.14 from BlackRock and £68,125.35 from Centerbridge Partners, a private investment firm.
Osborne will work as an adviser at BlackRock’s investment institute which provides research for the investment managers. The New York-based firm oversees $5.1tn (£4.2tn) of investments for pensioners and savers. It is one of the biggest investors in companies on the stock market and is usually among the top three shareholders in FTSE 100 companies.
Osborne will take on his advisory role at the firm where his former chief of staff, Rupert Harrison, is a strategist, and will work several days a month.
Larry Fink, BlackRock’s founder and chief executive, said Osborne had “a unique and invaluable perspective on the issues that are shaping our world today”.
“At the centre of our mission is helping people around the world save and invest for retirement, and George’s insights will help our clients achieve their goals,” said Fink, who was paid $26m last year.
Both men have been attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, where Osborne has also been speaking at a number of events, including one for Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC.
“BlackRock wants better outcomes for pensioners and savers, and I want to help them deliver that,” Osborne said. “It’s a chance for me to work part-time with one of the world’s most respected firms and a major employer in Britain.”
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, suggested the announcement’s proximity to Trump’s inauguration was “interesting timing”. However, a source close to Osborne said the timing was determined by an announcement by the advisory committee on business appointments, the government body that considers job moves for former ministers and senior civil servants.
McDonnell said: “It looks like the former chancellor also seems to think that after Theresa May’s speech this week it’s looking like a bankers’ Brexit is what the Tories have in mind for our country.
“But in the communities that have been hit hardest by his austerity policies of the last six years, people will wonder, are we all still in it together?”
Osborne starts his job at the institute, which is run by Philipp Hildebrand, the former Swiss central bank governor and now BlackRock’s vice-chairman, on 1 February. He will provide “perspectives on European politics and policy, Chinese economic reform, and trends such as low yields and longevity and their impact on retirement planning”.
He will not be involved in lobbying the UK government, BlackRock said.
The announcement of his appointment came during a week in which the usually publicity-shy fund management firm spoke out about the level of executive pay by writing to the 350 biggest companies on the stock market to demand cuts to director pension entitlements and clear explanations for big pay rises for company bosses.
The appointment also comes after Osborne’s fellow Conservative William Hague , who did not stand as an MP at the last election, took on a role at the US bank Citigroup and another Osborne former chief of staff, Thea Rogers, took on a “policy and communications” job at the takeaway app company Deliveroo.