John Purvis

Former employer
European Parliament
Former function
Member of European Parliament (for 15 years)
New function
Senior advisor and chairman of Financial Future
New employer
cabinet DN
Policy area
Institutional reaction

None. There is no regulation requiring former MEPs to seek authorisation for their subsequent activities.

Other info

Purvis was an MEP in 1979-84 and 1999-2009, and for seven years he was the vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs (ECON) committee, where he worked as rapporteur or ’shadow’ on “all major financial services legislation”.

According to information on Powerbase, while he was an MEP, Purvis was a 'founding member' of the European Parliamentary Financial Services Forum industry-funded cross-party group set up by the financial services industry to get close to MEPs. Originally, it was run by lobbying firm Houston Consulting.

Purvis wrote an own initiative report in 2003 which proposed light-touch regulation for hedge funds. In particular, the report called for a regulatory regime which should be “sufficiently light-handed so as not to negate their role as an alternative investment medium of choice or impede the freedom of investment managers...”.

Whilst an MEP, Purvis was criticised for his outside interests and possible conflicts of interest. He was (and remains today) a director of Belgrave Capital Management which describes itself as “a London-based Investment Manager authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and part of the Banca del Ceresio Group ("BdC Group"). BCM specialises in the research and selection of talented investment advisors and discretionary management using Alternative Investment Strategies.”

After leaving the European Parliament in 2009, John Purvis joined cabinet DN, a Brussels-based lobby consultancy, as a senior adviser. As part of this work, he chairs Financial Future which is a lobby vehicle for the finance industry. Cabinet DN also provides the secretariat for the group. According to Financial Future's website:

“Our goal is to improve mutual understanding of key issues between legislators and the financial services industry with the aim of achieving sensible, workable and appropriate regulations/directives for the sector and the economy it serves.”

The advisory board of Financial Future includes several others who have gone through the Brussels revolving door including Eddy Wymeersch and Piia-Noora Kauppi. According to the EU Transparency Register, Financial Future generated €100,000-€150,000 turnover for cabinet DN in 2013.

CEO is concerned about the risk of conflicts of interest when MEPs go to work for lobby consultancies, especially if they use their insider knowledge and network of contacts gained whilst in public office, to then benefit their corporate clients.

CEO contacted Mr Purvis in advance of publishing this profile but he did not reply to our questions.

The rules in the European Parliament

The current revolving door rules for MEPs are so weak as to be virtually non-existent.

The code of conduct for MEPs (approved in 2011) states that

“Former Members of the European Parliament who engage in professional lobbying or representational activities directly linked to the European Union decision-making process may not, throughout the period in which they engage in those activities, benefit from the facilities granted to former Members under the rules laid down by the Bureau to that effect”.

However, there is no process to monitor or enforce this part of the code and ensure that former MEPs do not use their lifelong access pass for lobbying purposes. The EU Transparency Register does not indicate that John Purvis has applied for and been given a European parliamentary lobbyist pass.

When MEPs leave the European parliament they are entitled to a transitional allowance equivalent to one month's salary for every year they have been an MEP, with a minimum pay-out of six months' salary and a maximum of 24 months.

Comment from CEO

“The case of John Purvis illustrates very clearly why there needs to be strong rules to govern possible conflicts of interest, both when MEPs are in the parliament and after they have left too. MEPs should not be directors of companies, especially when there is a direct link to their parliamentary work. They should also not be able to go straight through the revolving door when they leave office to join a lobby firm to work on similar issues. There is a high risk of conflicts of interest arising in such cases.”