Rupert Harrison

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Revolving Door.jpg This article is part of the Revolving Door project of Spinwatch.

Rupert Harrison is the chief macro-strategist at one of the world's largest hedge-fund managers BlackRock.[1]

Harrison is the former chief of staff to the chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne.[2] He left after the 2015 general election and was expected to take up a job in the city.[3]

Known as one of the architects of a multi-year public sector pay freeze, Harrison was given an 18 per cent pay rise in 2013-2014 from £80,000 to £95,000. According to the Guardian,

It has been reported that Harrison has been courted by various hedge funds, and the pay rise, tucked away in a footnote to the salary list, may have been an attempt to take his earnings closer to what he might earn in the private sector. [4]


Born in Surrey, the 31 year old ex-Eton head boy studied PPE at Magdalen Oxford. Harrison started his career with four years at think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies before securing a job with Osborne in 2006[5] as his chief economic adviser.

Harrison was ranked 39th (a place held jointly with Matthew Hancock and Rohan Silva) in a list of the 'Top 100 most influential Right-wingers' by The Telegraph in October 2009.[6] By October 2011 he had risen to 25th in ranking and was described by the paper as follows:

'Smart, urbane and extremely clever, Harrison has been described as one half of George Osborne’s brain. We hesitate to say that he is to Osborne what Ed Balls was to Gordon Brown, but we’d mean it in a positive sense. More important to Osborne than ever. Silva was ranked number 19'. [7]
'Harrison is known for his preternatural calm, and ability to come out with policies like the inheritance tax cut when the party needs some emergency ballast'. [8]

Revolving door

After leaving the Treasury in May 2015, Harrison, 'the architect of the government’s pension reforms', took up a role at BlackRock, the US fund management group, 'where his tasks will include developing its “retirement proposition”'.[9]

Advisory committee on business appointments

Since leaving his role as special adviser to the Treasury in March 2013, Harrison has sought the advice of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) regarding two new appointments outside government.

The first was an unpaid Trustee position with the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, a charity organisation. Given that the role was unpaid and there would be no direct dealings with government, ACOBA advised that he take up the role providing that a two year lobbying ban from his final day in office and that he does not access any privileged information from his time in government, and the appointment was confirmed in February 2016.

The second position was as Managing director in the Dynamic Diversified Growth Team at Blackrock, a US-based investment management corporation. Despite his involvement in the governmental approach to banking sector regulation, the committee found that Harrison had no access to privileged information on any of Blackrock's competitors and providing he stick to the conditions outlined for his previous application, he was permitted to undertake the role. The appointment was confirmed in June 2016. [10]


Contact, Resources, Notes


  1. Kamal Ahmed Osborne's former right hand man moves to BlackRock BBC News, 11 June 2015, accessed 8 July 2015.
  2. Department of Information Services, "Parliamentary Information List", accessed 07.09.10
  3. George Parker and Chris Giles George Osborne second 2015 Budget predicted ‘relatively soon’ Financial Times, 10 May 2015, accessed 11 May 2015.
  4. Patrick Wintour and Rajeev SyalGeorge Osborne’s top adviser receives 18% pay rise, The Guardian 18 December 2014, accessed 26 May 2015
  5. Josh Neicho, "All power to the new Tories", London Evening Standard, 26.07.10, accessed 07.09.10
  6. Iain Dale and Brian Brivati,"Top 100 most influential Right-wingers: 50-1", The Telegraph, 05.10.09, accessed 07.09.10
  7. Iain Dale and Brian Brivati,"[The Top 100 most influential people on the Right 2011, 25-1]", The Telegraph, 04.10.09, accessed 10.09.10
  8. Fraser Nelson Ever wondered how George Osborne can be a part-time Chancellor? The Telegraph, 16 March 2012, accessed 16 October
  9. Jim Pickard and Harriet Agnew Architect of UK pension reforms Rupert Harrison joins BlackRock Financial Times, 11 June 2015, accessed 8 July 2015.
  10. Summary of Business Appointments Applications Rupert Harrison,, accessed 8 June 2016