Former Labour home secretary Lord David Blunkett has become a strategic adviser to financial services start-up Elementary B, City A.M. can reveal.
Elementary B is a new financial services company that seeks to help medium-sized firms better manage their businesses by providing new technology and advice.
Blunkett – also a former education and work and pensions secretary and now a Labour peer – will advise the firm’s senior management team on “all aspects” of regulation, Elementary B said.
The Labour grandee’s advice will come free for the time being. But Elementary B chief executive Karen Rudich said she expected to “reward all our members of staff and chief advisers” further down the line.
Blunkett told City A.M. that he liked Elementary B’s focus on making life easier for mid-sized businesses. He said that during the coronavirus pandemic they “need all the help they can get”.
He said his role will focus on how best to implement regulations and that he will be “asking the awkward questions”. Blunkett added that Covid meant “new ways of doing things must be the way forward”.
Rudich founded Elementary B last year. It is currently in its early stages but intends to provide products to medium-sized firms that help them improve their use of data, better comply with regulations and choose which products are right for them.
The firm intends to bring together software providers, banks and advisors through its technology to help companies manage accounting, taxes and banking.
Rudich said: “I am very excited to welcome Lord Blunkett to Elementary B as strategic advisor. As a former government minister he will support the creation of the regulatory framework that will underpin our offering.”
Blunkett’s path from New Labour bigwig to financial services adviser is a well-trodden one – although his new job is not as high-profile or well-paid as Tony Blair’s plum move to become a JP Morgan adviser in 2008.
More recently and on the other side of the house, JP Morgan hired former Tory chancellor Sajid Javid as a senior adviser.
Critics questioned how Javid can serve his constituents while being paid handsomely by a bank. Campaign group Positive Money said: “It’s time to close the door and break the link between politics and the financial sector for good.”