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Revealed: BlackRock's 'excessive' Treasury meetings

Freedom of information request reveals frequent meetings between the Treasury and BlackRock, which counts George Osborne as adviser.

Revealed: BlackRock's 'excessive' Treasury meetings

A freedom of information (FOI) request submitted by New Model Adviser®, Citywire Money's sister publication, has uncovered the extent to which asset manager BlackRock has received access to senior government officials. 

BlackRock, which currently employs former chancellor George Osborne, held 14 meetings with the Treasury last year. It is understood that Brexit and tax were covered as topics of discussion.

While there is no suggestion that rules governing how much access former government officials can have with current policymakers have been broken, the FOI shows that the asset manager has been granted what has been described as 'excessive' access to a government department. 

A number of high-profile Treasury officials have developed ties with BlackRock in recent years. Osborne last year joined the company in a four-day-a-month research position, earning him £650,000-a-year. He followed his former chief of staff Rupert Harrison, who joined the asset manager in 2016.

Another ex-Treasury official, Antony Manchester, joined BlackRock in 2017 to lead the firm’s Brexit position. According to a Sky News report last year he served as head of the Treasury's EU financial services unit between 2009 and 2010, before joining the Swiss Finance Council. 

There is no suggestion the meetings with the Treasury were directly or solely due to the number of former Treasury officials currently working at BlackRock, or the presence of Osborne (pictured below). The former chancellor himself did not attend any of the meetings, as is he currently serving a two-year 'lobbying ban'*, which started the day he left office in April of last year. A month prior, he was appointed editor of the Evening Standard.

There is also no evidence that Harrison broke his lobbying ban to meet Treasury officials. A source told New Model Adviser® that Manchester was present at some of these meetings. As he left the Treasury in 2010, there are no restrictions on him in relation to meetings with government officials. 

Brexit countdown


The FOI shows the extent to which one company has been able to gain access to the Treasury for conversations about policies that will affect its business.

Mick McAteer, director of the Financial Inclusion Centre, said 14 meetings ‘seemed quite a lot’ for one company. 

‘It is an open secret that the big city institutions have an open door [to government] but to average about one-a-month for just BlackRock on its own does seem quite excessive compared to the access that other firms get,’ he said.

Out of the 14 meetings, four included conversations where other parties were also present. ‘Financial services or "global financial services" were discussed at 12 of the meetings.

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2 comments so far. Why not have your say?

dennis rooke

Jan 11, 2018 at 17:15

Is any one surprised Mr Osborne and friends have superior access? Blackrock is not even a Bank it is more of a Hedge Fund asset manager it is disgraceful


report this


Jan 11, 2018 at 17:50

Good to see Blackrock working hard for its investors. There's no suggestion cash or other perks changed hands in exchange for access. Nor, in this report, is there any mention of other large asset managers - of comparable size to Blackrock -seeking access and either getting it or being turned down (which last might imply some kind of favouritism that is the direction this article seems to be nudging us)

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