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Jacob Rees-Mogg in line for potential windfall from sale of Somerset Capital

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theguardian.com

Riding through London in the back of a Rolls-Royce in the early 1980s, 12-year-old Jacob Rees-Mogg proudly declared his ambitions: “I’ve always wanted to be rich.”The besuited youngster, who was already an ardent supporter of then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher, calmly explained to a French reporter that he had put his plans in motion five years earlier when he invested a £50 inheritance in the shares of utility firm GEC.Now a millionaire many times over, the newly installed business secretary could be set for a further windfall from the potential sale of Somerset Capital Management, the investment firm he helped launch in 2007.It emerged on Thursday that talks were under way to sell Somerset, as its co-founder and chief executive Dominic Johnson prepares to follow in Rees-Mogg’s footsteps and shift into a career in politics.A sale could result in a multimillion pound payout for the business minister, who stopped receiving wages from the firm in 2019, but remains an equity-holding member.

His shareholding is understood to be in the low teens, though this is information is not publicly available. In 2018, during inconclusive merger talks with a US firm, Somerset is believed to have been valued at between £70m and £100m.

At the time, it managed $10bn of assets on behalf of a combination of individual and institutional investors, though that sum has since dropped to $5bn.Media reports suggest the staunch Brexiter had pocketed at least £7m in dividends from Somerset since the EU referendum in 2016, and before he stopped taking a salary, Rees-Mogg received about £15,000 a month from the firm on top of his MP’s pay.Somerset has traditionally invested in listed companies based in emerging markets including China, Korea, India

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