Philip Hammond joins British bank OakNorth as adviser

Philip Hammond

The former chancellor Philip Hammond has taken his second job since quitting frontline politics last year, joining the British business bank OakNorth as an adviser.

OakNorth lends to small businesses and operates a technology platform that helps lenders make decisions, which it has licensed to banks worldwide. It is backed by investors including the Japanese SoftBank Vision Fund, which in turn is backed by Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund. At the time of its last fundraising, London-based Oaknorth was valued at $2.8bn.

The bank was founded by the British entrepreneur Rishi Khosla and gained regulatory approval five years ago. Unlike many fintech startups it is profitable, making £34m in 2018. It has accumulated $17bn in assets.

Other members of OakNorth’s advisory board include the Tory grandee Francis Maude, former CBI director general Adair Turner and the former Bank of England director Martin Stewart.

Hammond was expelled from the Conservative party last September after voting to prevent Boris Johnson from taking Britain out of the EU without a deal, and he quit as an MP before last month’s general election.

A week after stepping down, he was named as a non-executive director of the Irish metal and glass packaging firm Ardagh, which is listed on the New York stock exchange. He is paid £125,000 a year in that role.

Prior to becoming an MP in 1997, Hammond had a series of business ventures ranging from a medical devices company to a building business that specialised in homes and doctors’ surgeries.

OakNorth said in a statement: “As an adviser, Hammond will bring his passion for small and medium-size businesses, financial expertise and global perspective to the business as it continues to expand internationally.”

Hammond said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the British economy and communities globally. The development by OakNorth of a platform to deliver cost-effective lending to them is a major boost to the potential of not only the British economy but economies worldwide.”

OakNorth did not say how much it would pay Hammond in his new role.

The bank specialises in lending to smaller companies that might otherwise struggle to access credit, using its technology platform to allow firms to borrow against a wider range of collateral than the usual sources such as property.