Sven Giegold
Mitglied der Grünen/EFA-Fraktion im Europaparlament

Sprecher Europagruppe Grüne

The proposal of Jonathan Hill as commissioner for financial markets is like getting a fox to guard the hen-house

European Commission president-elect Juncker today announced the make-up of the College of Commissioners, including their portfolios, for the coming term. Commenting on the announcement of Jonathan Hill (UK) as commissioner in charge of financial services and the banking union, Green economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold, said:

“The proposal of Jonathan Hill as EU commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union is a provocation, because it means that a financial industry lobbyist would be in charge of financial market regulation. Lord Hill was a founding director of Quiller Consultants and has provided advice to a wide range of clients, among others companies of the financial sector, such as HSBC. According to his declaration of interests for the House of Lords, he still holds shares in the company (Huntsworth plc) that  aquired Quiller and provides a variety of  other services to financial institutions

Lord Hill with his well-developed contacts to the City of London and financial industry would be in a key position to influence future financial market regulation. This poacher-turned-gamekeeper approach is clearly not what is needed in the sensitive areas of financial services and the banking union.

In the course of the last years, a cross-party alliance of the European Parliament has been pushing for stricter financial market regulation. Michel Barnier, the current commissioner in charge of financial markets and services often supported the European Parliament in this regard. Likewise, Lord Hill will have to face a difficult hearing the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), especially in the light of the fact that its ex-chairwoman Sharon Bowles has switched jobs to the London Stock Exchange (LSE) through a revolving door process.

It is incomprehensible that a British politician from the pro-City conservative right is announced as the key decision-maker of the Eurozone´s Single Resolution Authority. This constellation separates power from responsibility, since unfortunately the United Kingdom chose not to participate in the EU banking resolution mechanism.

In order to avoid that investors’ money will be skimmed of by fees for economically useless intermediation services and products and billions of taxpayers’ money will be pumped again in banks in the future, a proactive commissioner is crucial. With the announcement of Jonathan Hill as commissioner in charge of financial services and the banking union, Jean-Claude Juncker makes a huge gift to the British Prime Minister David Cameron. But this gift among friends may come at high costs for financial market stability. It is reasonable to send political signals to the UK to strenghten their EU membership. Nevertheless, financial market stability is a too expensive public good to be used for political horsetrading.  Its huge value is clearly revealed by the lawsuits brought by the British government in the ECJ against financial market policies agreed by majority of their peers in the EU legislative process.

One thing is virtually certain: in comparison to his predecessor Michel Barnier, the proposed Jonathan Hill will have a negative impact on independence and political profile of the European Commission in the field of financial market regulation. “   

Overview on the client structure of Quiller consulting:

Declaration of Lord Hill not to posess shares in Quiller, but in Huntsworth Plc (international public relations business):

Information revealing that Lord Hill resigned as director of Quiller Consulting: