Rishi Sunak awaits multimillion-dollar payday after losing $177,000 PM gig

It’s official. Rishi Sunak is no longer the U.K. Prime Minister. His long and winding road to the Number 10 exit door has felt inevitable since he took over from the economically disastrous, short-lived Liz Truss government in the autumn of 2022. 

But 44-year-old Sunak—reportedly found riding off into the Californian sunset on his Peloton before results landed—is more likely to be licking his lips at the future that awaits him than stewing over what could have been with another five years in office.

That’s because Sunak, a man who is technically richer than the King of England and has a past as a high-flying London banker, can prepare for a few more lucrative perks as he steps away from a life of service.

Sunak’s millions

As prime minister, Sunak was entitled to a salary of £80,000, in addition to his £91,346 salary as a member of parliament for his Richmond and Northallerton constituency. Tax records show that last year, he took home £139,000 ($177,000) from those roles.

His pay packet for leading the U.K. is a meager sum compared to what he got used to before entering politics and even his other forms of income while he held the job. Sunak made nearly £1.8 million in capital gains last year and paid a total of £500,000 in tax.

Sunak worked as a successful banker for years, starting at Goldman Sachs before achieving an MBA and returning to the lucrative hedge fund space.

According to an analysis by efinancialcareers, Sunak probably only earned less than £100,000 in his first three years out of university.

While working at the hedge fund TCI between 2006 and 2009 in his mid-20s, Sunak became a multimillionaire after he and his colleagues shared a £100 million pot after a lucrative bet in the buildup to the global financial crisis.

The hedge fund took an activist position in the Dutch bank ABN Amro in 2007, forcing its sale to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which resulted in a £555.9 million profit. However, that acquisition saddled the Scottish bank with debt, leading to a £45.5 billion government bailout.

While Sunak’s biggest riches will probably come after he eventually resigns as an MP, there are several new income avenues he can eventually look forward to.

Evidence suggests that if Sunak returns to the finance world after he leaves politics, he will be in high demand.

Sunak’s fellow former chancellor George Osbourne has minted fresh millions through city advisory roles with groups including Blackrock and Robey Warshaw, in addition to his time editing London’s Evening Standard newspaper. 

Or, he could take a cautious lesson from David Cameron. The man who served as PM between 2010 and 2016 landed himself in hot water over his role in the collapsed finance group Greensill Capital.

Cameron reportedly got $10 million from Greensill to lobby the government on behalf of the company, but his spokesperson disputed that figure.

Speaking engagements

The easiest mileage for Sunak’s bank account after leaving office will likely see him harness his years of training as a public speaker.

Tony Blair, the ninth-longest running PM of all time, set a marker after he retired, reportedly commanding £1 million in 2012 from his engagements. His Tory successors have been keen to follow that trend.

In the year between stepping down as prime minister and resigning as an MP, the mercurial Boris Johnson bagged millions of dollars from extracurricular activities as he settled into post-leadership life.

Documents from May 2023 show Johnson was paid around £3.5 million for speaking engagements after stepping down as PM. He also received a £510,000 advance on a book deal. Theresa May, Johnson’s predecessor, has also enjoyed the speaking circuit since quitting as PM in 2019.

Family wealth

What is unique for Sunak among his contemporaries, however, is that the PM never needs to work again.

Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, are worth a combined £651 million ($830 million), according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List, making him richer than King Charles.

The vast majority of that wealth comes from Murty’s holdings in the Indian IT company Infosys, which her billionaire father co-founded.

Murty’s wealth was a hot point of contention during Sunak’s premiership owing to her “non-dom” status, which meant she didn’t pay tax on income from shares in the foreign-owned Infosys. Murty vowed to pay U.K. tax on this after a media storm.

Sunak will remain an MP until he decides otherwise, like Boris Johnson or David Cameron before him.

But when he does go, the man who led the Tories to their worst defeat in nearly two centuries will quickly be absorbed into a multimillion-dollar corporate cushion shared by most of his former allies.

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