The Brexit Millionaires: Channel 4 Dispatches
Monday 11th March, Channel 4, 8pm
Leading Brexiteer and Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is estimated to have earnt £7m from one of his investments since the referendum according to an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches.
In an interview with the programme Conservative MP Mr Rees-Mogg refused to disclose the precise amount he received in dividends from Somerset Capital Management (SCM), the investment firm he set up in 2007. However, an analysis of its accounts shows that in the past two years, the fund has seen profits almost double and it has paid £47m to members over that period.
- Mr Rees-Mogg owns at least 15% of the firm which according to one financial expert’s estimate could have put him in line for a pay-out of around £7m since 2016.
- Asked if the figure of £7m is accurate, Mr Rees-Mogg told Dispatches: “The amount that I received is not for public disclosure. I’m entitled to the same privacy in my affairs as anyone else in parliament is.”
- Mr Rees-Mogg declares in his House of Commons Register of Interests that he is paid £500 an hour for his work at SCM and takes home around £15,000 a month on top of his MPs salary.
SCM invests in emerging markets like China and Russia and one expert said that the fall in the value of the pound since the referendum result has helped SCM’s profits. Mr Rees-Mogg denied that the increase in SCM’s earnings was related to Brexit describing such claims as “living in cloud cuckoo land”.
He also rejected claims that SCM’s decision in the past year to open two new funds in Dublin rather than London had anything to with Brexit. “Our decision to do it predates Brexit,” he told the programme.
MPs earning money from Brexit:
An analysis of the House of Commons register of interests reveals MPs have been in high demand on the speaker’s circuit. Since the referendum 12 MPs have between them made more than £1m on top of their MPs salary from paid speeches.
Dispatches also reveals the amounts some politicians are charging to speak on Brexit. According to one leading agency:
- Nick Clegg charges £60,000-£80,000 plus flights from California where he currently works for Facebook
- Boris Johnson charges £100,000.
- Former Foreign Secretary William Hague was offered at £40-50k
- Former Government minister Jo Johnson was the cheapest at £15,000
- Conservative Remainer Kenneth Clarke earned almost £14,000 for 2 recent speeches on Brexit
- Former Brexit secretary David Davis was recently paid £19,000 for a speech to the City
- After he left Downing Street, David Cameron he earnt £120,000 for a speech to Wall Street that talked about Brexit
Since the referendum there has been a sharp uptick in investment in Gold, when May’s Brexit deal was defeated in January one company saw a 116% increase in a 12-hour period.
Gold investment company Glint have a website which clearly states how important Brexit in making gold an attractive investment - it says here at a time when pound looks vulnerable and the stock markets look ‘toppy’ - gold is a financial insurance policy.
Dispatches searched the House of Commons Register of Interests and discovered that one shareholder was none other than the former Brexit Minister – and prominent Brexiteer- Steve Baker. He has at least £70,000 invested in Glint. Within three days of resigning as Brexit Secretary he was on twitter promoting the company.
Funds betting against British businesses:
Dispatches also reveals how some hedge funds have built up huge bets against British business and hoping to make big profits if the economy hits the rocks after Brexit.
Dispatches reveals that the US investment firm Blackrock holds the most bets against British business totalling more than £1bn. Blackrock has paid former Chancellor and key remain campaigner George Osborne more than a £1m since 2016.
The hedge fund run by leading Brexiteer Crispin Odey is betting almost £500m against British businesses. Odey made more than £200m on the night of the referendum by betting that the value of the pound would plummet.
Dispatches also includes an interview with the celebrated US investor Steve Eisman who correctly predicted the 2008 financial crash and made million by betting against US banks. He was famously portrayed by the actor Steve Carrell in the Oscar-winning film The Big Short.
“I'm short three UK banks...And I am not going to name which ones because it’s not important which ones and just for a very, very simple reason if there is a Brexit the assumption in the investment community there will be a recession in the UK., how bad that recession will be? Nobody has a clue.”
The Brexit Millionaires: Channel 4 Dispatches, Monday 11th March, Channel 4, 8pm
Prod/Dire: Oliver Price
Reporter: Antony Barnett
Exec Producers: George Waldrum, Andy Dunn
Production Co: ITN Productions