The Member for times long past Jacob Rees Mogg is one of the most ardent supporters of the hardest possible Brexit, if need be without any agreement with the EU. We should not be unduly concerned at the loss of all those free trade deals. There will be no reason for panic at the thought of the M20 becoming a lorry park. And there will be no problem with maintaining London’s status as a world financial centre.
Indeed, back in 2016, in response to the concern that “Current passporting rules allow banks and other financial services companies who set up their operations in the UK to access the EU market. A report published today by consultancy Oliver Wyman and lobbying body The City UK said that if the UK lost its passporting rights up to 35,000 jobs could be at risk, as well as around £5 billion in tax revenues”, he was distinctly relaxed.
“The importance of passporting is much over-rated … The real advantage of passports is in retail and most of the companies that are involved in retail markets have a person in other European countries anyway. So I would not get too hung up on passporting. Last week Lloyd’s of London said it was 4% of its business, so it’s not that big a fish” was The Great Man’s response. And in any case, passporting rights would be retained.
Or so he told: “When asked why the EU would give the UK passporting rights as part of the negotiations, Rees-Mogg said it has given similar deals to Singapore and the USA, so it would be in line with its policy”. But what a difference two years makes.
Now, it seems passporting rights are not over-rated at all, as the latest issue of Private Eye magazine (#1472, available at all good news outlets for a modest £2) has showed.
Somerset Capital Management, where Rees Mogg still puts in some work time, “relies on ‘passporting’ from the UK’s EU membership to sell in other EU countries. That could all come to an end with Brexit … putting City firms at a big disadvantage. Moves to Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin can get round that problem”.
So what is Rees Mogg’s outfit doing? “SCM has launched a new investment fund based in Dublin … even though that means submitting to Irish/EU laws and regulations. The MI Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Feeder Fund was launched in March by Somerset Capital Management ICAV, an Irish collective asset management vehicle or umbrella fund regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland”.
And the killer connection that the Eye has unearthed? “The ICAV sub-fund will feed a master fund, the £1.35bn MI Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund, managed in London by Somerset Capital Management LLP, in which Rees Mogg remains a prominent partner”. Plus the feeder fund’s prospectus makes interesting reading.
This says of Brexit “As the Manager and Investment Manager are based in the UK and a Fund’s investments may be located in the UK or the EU, a Fund may as a result be affected by the events described above”. So much so that Rees Mogg’s outfit found it necessary to open for business somewhere that Passporting will not be affected.
And so the latest exhibition of Brexit hypocrisy was duly nailed.