Mark Carney to Brookfield Asset Management. Brexit architect Nigel Farage to DGB Group. A senior Obama aide to BlackRock Inc.
One after another, the high-profile hires came in recent months, and in each case, they were handed some iteration of the same mandate: To help their new employers safeguard and grow their burgeoning green-finance businesses.
The sudden rush to embrace political insiders is a powerful sign of just how far responsible investing has come from the eccentric fringes of finance. While business has long been a path into politics and out again, joining a company that plants trees to offset emissions was once a risky career move. Yet so much money — more than $30 trillion by some counts — is now tied up in green finance that the industry is successfully wooing an illustrious list of household names and policy wonks to keep lawmakers in London, Brussels and Washington on their side and the good times rolling. Other recruits include Chuka Umunna, Farage’s one-time arch Brexit opponent, and Luciana Berger, another former U.K. parliamentarian.
“They’re not hiring these politicians because of their expertise on finance and economics — they’re hiring them on their expertise on influencing policy, both their connections to people in government and knowledge of how to game the system,” said Simon Youel, head of policy at Positive Money, which campaigns to reform the banking system. “This revolving door is enabling big institutional investors and corporations a disproportionate impact over policy making.”