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Ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond joins fintech lender OakNorth

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond, UK's former chancellor of the exchequer. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Former UK chancellor Philip Hammond has joined the advisory board of fintech OakNorth.

OakNorth said on Monday Hammond would be taking up his role from today, helping the bank in discussions with “senior policy makers around the world”.

“OakNorth is the flagship of the UK's vital and fast-growing fintech sector — attracting record-levels of investment and generating sustainable profits while bringing much-needed change to an underserved area of the banking market,” Hammond said in a statement.

“I look forward to being part of both OakNorth's growth story in the UK and its expansion into international markets, licensing its platform to partners across the globe.”

Hammond was chancellor of the exchequer from 2016 to 2019 under Theresa May’s government. He stepped down as an MP at December’s general election after 22 years in parliament.

A spokesperson for OakNorth declined to comment on Hammond’s pay arrangements or how much time he would be devoting to the new role.

READ MORE: Tony Blair: 'I’m sorry Philip Hammond is leaving politics'

OakNorth was founded in 2015 as an entrepreneur-focused startup bank. It developed a machine learning-powered platform that helps it make decisions on which loans to write. OakNorth has lent $5bn (£3.8bn) in the UK since inception, to businesses including fast food chain Leon, and leases its credit platform to banks around the world.

The startup has raised over $1bn from investors including Japan’s SoftBank and hedgefund Toscafund. OakNorth is one of the UK’s few ‘unicorns’, a private tech business worth over $1bn, and was valued at $2.8bn in a funding round last year.

Rishi Khosla, co-founder of OakNorth, said in a statement: “During his time as chancellor, Philip proactively advocated for small and medium-sized businesses and the fintech sector – two areas that have clear synergies with OakNorth.

“He brings both an international perspective, having worked with Finance Ministers across the globe, as well as a deep understanding of the British economy.

“We’re delighted that he’s joined us and look forward to working together to change commercial banking globally, so it can truly address the financing requirements of small and medium-sized business.”

Hammond will serve on the advisory board alongside fellow former Conservative minister Lord Francis Maude, as well as Britain’s former top financial regulator Lord Adair Turner and former Bank of England official Martin Stewart.