The Permanent Representations of European Union Member States are not covered by the revolving door rules in the Staff Regulations (which pertain to staff of any of the institutions of the Communities – the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community). So Martin Bresson did not face any restrictions when leaving the Danish perm rep to start as a financial services lobbyist at Fleishman-Hillard, because under Danish law no institutions of public office have restrictions on professional commitments or holding posts after leaving office. Nonetheless, as a public official working for the public interest at EU level policy-making, the same revolving door concerns arise as with EU institution officials, even though there is no EU-wide regulation covering them.
The Head of Financial Services at Fleishman-Hillard, Donald Ricketts, said of Bresson's appointment that “His international perspective and deep understanding of the challenges facing policy-makers and industry alike set him apart.”
Bresson joined Fleishman-Hillard as Senior Policy Adviser on 3 September 2012 from the Permanent Representation of Denmark to the EU. He served as Counsellor on financial services during the Danish Presidency of the EU, which ended on 30 June 2012, just two months earlier, and according to his Linked-in profile, he was still Counsellor in August 2012. His move therefore came at time when the outgoing Presidency is still active as part of the presidency trio, whereby three successive presidencies cooperate for an 18-month period to provide continuity by sharing common political programmes.
Without any cooling-off period, Mr Bresson has moved from a public financial services role to the private financial services team of a lobby consultancy, lobbying on behalf of private financial corporations. There is no indication of any restrictions, such as contacting his former colleagues or working for clients with interests in dossiers that he led on whilst at the Permanent Representation of Denmark (for example, the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD)).
According to Fleishman-Hillard's entry in the Transparency Register, with a 2011 lobby turnover (related to representing interests to EU institutions on behalf of clients) of nearly € 10 million, their clients included many of the biggest financial industry names:
|Fleishman-Hillard Financial Lobby Clients|
|Share of turnover from client, €||Lobby Clients|
|500,000 – 600,000||AFME (Association for Financial Markets in Europe)|
|350,000 – 400,000||Standard & Poors|
|300,000 - 350,000||JP Morgan|
|250,000 - 300,000||Barclays Capital and ICAP group|
|200,000 – 250,000||Blackrock|
|150,000 - 200,000||Markit, SWIFT, ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association), Credit Suisse, Nomura|
|100,000 - 150,000||Morgan Stanley, GE Capital, Lloyd's Banking Group, EPIF (European Payment Institutions Federation)|
|50,000 - 100,000||RGM Advisors|
|Below 50,000||Danske Bank, EVCA (European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association), Blackstone|
|* Figures from Transparency Register, Fleishman-Hillard entry, accessed 09/10/12, http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyregister/public/consultation/displaylobbyist.do?id=56047191389-84|
It is clear from their client list that organisations and businesses with very strong commercial and financial interests in the financial services dossiers make up a significant part of Fleishman-Hillard's clientèle. In total, lobbying EU institutions for these clients is worth around three and half million euros per year.*
As noted by Public Affairs News Bresson's appointment “comes as Fleishman is called by Barclays Bank to handle its Brussels lobbying work following the Libor rate-fixing scandal. The British multinational bank launched a search for an EU-level public affairs agency in May, before it was exposed for rate-rigging.”
Regulating Conflicts of Interest for Holders of Public Office in the European Union: A Comparative Study of the Rules and Standards of Professional Ethics for the Holders of Public Office in the EU-27 and EU Institutions, C. Demmke et al. October 2007. Annex – CoI policy in Denmark p. 189 -195 http://bit.ly/PgbtG0
*Based on the average of the higher and lower number in each bracket, multiplied by the number of financial services related clients in each bracket.
Websites accessed October 2012
“A Danish financial services attaché moving to one of the biggest lobby consultancies in Brussels, that has finance sector clients worth over 3 million euros, just two months after the Danish presidency of the EU ended and when the outgoing Presidency is still active, raises clear revolving door concerns. Without any cooling off period, nor any indication of restrictions on dossiers, clients or contacts, Mr Bresson has moved from a public financial services role to the private financial services team of a lobby consultancy. It is a serious omission that there are no revolving door rules covering cases like this.”