Lord Macpherson, the former permanent secretary to the Treasury, is being lined up to join the board of the banking industry’s most powerful lobbying group.
Sky News has learnt that UK Finance (UKF) is seeking the approval of Whitehall’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) for the move.
It comes less than 18 months after Sir Nicholas – now Lord – Macpherson stepped down as the top civil servant at the Treasury after an 11-year stint which was dominated by the financial crisis and its protracted aftermath.
If the appointment is approved, the ex-mandarin, who chairs the investment trust the Scottish American Investment Company (SAINTS), would ostensibly be the wealth management industry’s representative on the board of UKF.
He would, however, play an important role in wider board discussions about all aspects of banking reform and regulation – much of which he was involved in shaping during his Treasury career.
Although his board role at UKF would be non-executive, it may provoke criticism about the continued perception of a revolving door between Government and the private sector.
Since retiring from the Treasury in the spring of last year, Lord Macpherson has taken on the chairmanship of C Hoare & Co, the private bank, and the directorship at SAINTS.
Those roles attracted relatively little attention given the narrowness of their scope, whereas assuming a board position at an influential lobbying group less than two years after leaving the Treasury is likely to be more contentious.
Earlier this week, Lord Macpherson called for an end to the “heroin” of the quantitative easing, or money-printing, policy that he helped oversee the introduction of eight years ago.
As an adviser to successive Chancellors of the Exchequer, including Alistair Darling and George Osborne, he was regarded as bringing a calm intellect to one of the most fraught periods in British economic history.
Lord Macpherson handed the reins at the Treasury to Sir Tom Scholar and has since opted to pursue a private sector career.
ACOBA’s role in scrutinising business appointments has itself been criticised owing to the rarity with which it objects to them.
Notable moves in recent months which have been approved by ACOBA included Mr Osborne’s appointment to a role at the Blackrock Institute, an arm of the world’s biggest asset manager.
UKF was created last month from the merger of six existing industry groups, including the British Bankers’ Association and Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Its board is chaired by Bob Wigley, a former investment banker, and includes Tracey McDermott, the former head of enforcement at the City watchdog.
Other directors include Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money, and Joanna Elson, who runs the Money Advice Trust.