London Daily

Focus on the big picture.
Saturday, Mar 25, 2023

What Washington can expect from Rishi Sunak

What Washington can expect from Rishi Sunak

Britain’s new prime minister has American roots — but D.C. is still getting to know him.

Most of Washington doesn’t know Rishi Sunak. But there’s one sector of the nation’s capital that is quite familiar with him — financial regulators — and those relationships give a glimpse of how he may deal with D.C.

Even though the new British prime minister lived in the U.S. for five years, the networks he built in California — as a student and hedge fund partner — rarely extend to Washington. Sunak, 42, joined the British Cabinet in February 2020, just as Covid began to disrupt travel. And unlike his predecessor Liz Truss, Sunak hasn’t cultivated a conservative network in Washington.

That means he’s got a lot of work to do in D.C..

The U.K.-U.S. “special relationship” depends on actual relationships. Sunak’s dearth of them means that — beyond the Treasury — he will have to build those bonds on the fly as he confronts enormous challenges, from the West’s strategy on Ukraine to calming global financial markets.

POLITICO contacted more than a dozen senior American officials, think tankers and bankers: most had nothing to share about Sunak — because they’d never dealt with him before.

While Sunak is a conservative and the Biden administration prides itself on its progressive policy positions, those who know Sunak best in Washington — Treasury officials — are emphatic in their praise. They cited Sunak’s willingness to overcome policy differences, and to solve thorny problems to justify their views.

When Janet met Rishi

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen first met Sunak in London, during the U.K. G-7 presidency in 2021, maintaining a rhythm of regular contact until Sunak resigned from his own treasury post in July, helping to force Boris Johnson out of Downing Street.

A person familiar with Sunak’s relationship with Treasury officials said he and Yellen “developed a very, very warm and friendly relationship, but also very business-like: they accomplish things.”

That’s the type of relationship the White House is looking for from London: no more market chaos, and fewer confrontations with the EU over Irish border arrangements.

“I think people actually see this as a settling down and getting back on an even track after some fairly interesting and momentous events this year,” U.K. Ambassador Karen Pierce said in an interview.

After this year’s revolving door in Downing Street and other British ministries, U.S. officials say they’ll be happy if Sunak and his team stick to a predictable line.

“They will expect an inward focus from Sunak, especially to try and get the economic basics back on track,” said Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the Obama administration. “U.K. policy on Ukraine will remain the same, which is good, and for the rest they have to have a predictable G-7 partner.”

The Yellen-Sunak relationship was forged during tense negotiations last year to establish a global minimum tax for large international companies and efforts to punish Russia for invading Ukraine.

Yellen and Sunak worked hand-in-hand during the tax talks which involved more than 130 governments, and dragged on throughout 2021, “Many countries had red lines, but they were determined to find a way through,” said the person familiar with the efforts to fend off defections and win over holdouts including Ireland, which had made a 12.5 percent corporate rate the foundation of its national economic model.

The individual, who has participated in meetings with Sunak, said the new PM’s relationship with Yellen extended to dinners and a private tour of the Treasury building. The person and others were granted anonymity to allow them to speak freely about Sunak.

With the global tax deal done, Yellen and Sunak teamed up to deal with Moscow via sanctions, and mechanisms to limit the fallout from the energy market chaos Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed this year.

“He had his staff dedicate a huge amount of time to welcome [U.S.] Treasury staff at low, medium and high levels to make sure we got outcomes,” the person said.

London vs. New York clash looming

For all the personal bonhomie between Sunak and Yellen, the pair may yet end up at odds over one of Sunak’s passions: making London a cryptocurrency and blockchain hub.

Sunak is the most influential world leader to publicly embrace blockchain technology to remake financial markets.

Where the Biden administration talks about “responsible digital asset development,” Sunak — a Goldman Sachs alum and the first former hedge fund partner to lead a major economy — is less cautious, focusing on innovation and global leadership.

Washington’s crypto approach remains stuck at the stage of executive orders and policy frameworks, while the House of Commons this week voted to recognize cryptocurrencies as a regulated financial asset.

While Britain is choosing to go its own way on crypto, Sunak showed his cooperative spirit by working with G-7 financial authorities on developing central bank digital currencies, a crypto-adjacent asset class.

With financiers in London now facing extra paperwork to operate in the EU because of Brexit, Sunak’s overall instinct is to do what it takes to help London catch up to New York in the race to be the world’s financial capital.

A Conservative British member of parliament said Sunak lacks international financial connections that might move the needle for London’s competitive position: “He has hedge funds and that’s it.”

A bit of American ideology

Sunak has credited the time he spent getting a Stanford MBA — obtained in 2006 — with teaching him to “think bigger” about the world — and bring a “start-up mentality” to governing, as demonstrated by his approach to blockchain and crypto.

Through his finance career, Sunak either worked for or invested in major American companies — including some that would later shape his political fortunes.

Between 2001 and 2004, Sunak worked as a junior analyst at Goldman Sachs, focusing on U.S. stocks concerning railways and media. He was later involved in a campaign against the management of U.S. rail freight group CSX, while a junior partner at The Children’s Investment Fund Management, or TCI — a London-based activist hedge fund.

In 2010 Sunak returned to California as a co-founder of Thélème Partners, which invested in companies including News Corp — which owns Britain’s highest circulation newspaper The Sun, and The Times, generally considered London’s paper of record. Thélème invested more than $500 million in Moderna, and Sunak refused to disclose during the pandemic if he was receiving a cut of Moderna’s Covid vaccine profits.

He and his wife still own an apartment in Santa Monica and he kept his green card, allowing permanent residency in the U.S., and paid U.S. taxes until October 2021, 18 months into his role as U.K. chancellor. Those U.S. ties drew criticism that he wasn’t fully committed to continuing to live in the U.K.

Delivering a lecture at Bayes Business School in London in 2021, Sunak cited Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Romer as one of his “inspiring” Stanford professors. Sunak absorbed those professors’ capitalist ethos and the folklore of the American Dream.

His message to MBA students back in London as chancellor: “The free market provides the best possible route to achieving the most happiness and security for the greatest number of people.”


Related Articles

London Daily
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
You're Beautiful - James Blunt (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Bordeaux town hall set on fire in France pro democracy protest
You Are So Beautiful
Police violence in Paris
Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Paris: Some of the police are stepping down and showing solidarity with the protesters.
An old French tune (by Georges Brassens) Pomplamoose ft. John Schroeder
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
Sattahip Motor Show 20
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
SONATE AU CLAIR DE LUNE - Moonlight sonata
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
A kiss to build a dream on
Home Secretary Suella Braverman tours potential migrant housing in Rwanda as asylum deal remains mired in legal challenges
Wiz Khalifa - See You Again ft. Charlie Puth, Furious
Goldman Sachs cuts outlook for European bank debt over Credit Suisse crisis
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
Mean Blues
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
La Chansonnette
Orbán Viktor: the restructuring of the power relations in the whole of Europe is taking place
Pattaya Addicts
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
The BBC problem about China
Dream a little dream of me
Strikes-Hit UK Pledges 94 Billion Euros In Cost-Of-Living Budget
Tu Vuo' Fa' L'Americano - Hetty & the Jazzato Band
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
Unchained Melody sung like you've NEVER heard!
"Will Fly Wherever International Law Allows": US Warns Russia After Drone Incident
Dave Brubeck - Take Five
UK face biggest fall in spending power for 70 years
Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Sofie)
Jeremy Hunt insists his Budget will get young parents and over-50s back into work
Rondo Alla Turca
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
Kiss of fire
Announcing GPT-4
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Amadeus violin cover instrumental)
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
Tom Jones - I´ll Never Fall In Love Again 1967, 1989, 2001
Drew Barrymore
Israel Cachao López - Guajira Clásica
China is calling out the US, UK, and Australia on their submarine pact, claiming they are going further down a dangerous road
Edward Maya - Stereo Love (feat. Vika Jigulina) (Extended Mix)
A brief banking situation report
Strauss - Radetzky March - Karajan
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
La vie en rose
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Despacito (Piano Cover) - Peter Bence
'No relation to the American SVB': India's SVC Bank acts to calm depositors amid brand name confusion.
The Temptations - My Girl (Smokey Robinson Tribute) 2006 Kennedy Cent
Good news: The U.S. government is now guaranteeing all deposits, held by, Silicon Valley Bank, and the funds are available as of today
Orlando Cachaito Lopez Redencion
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
In a potential last-ditch effort, HSBC is considering a rescue deal to save Silicon Valley Bank UK from insolvency
RADETZKY MARCH-2008-Wien, New Year Concert
Saudi Arabia has announced a major breakthrough in diplomacy with Iran after two years of intense talks
Only you (And you alone)
BBC Director General, Tim Davie, has apologized, but not resigned, yet, following the disruption of sports programmes over the weekend
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
A Mississippian man, who was once considered a “ticking time bomb,” has lost a whopping 165 kilograms! What motivated this incredible transformation?
Strangers In The Night
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
Charles Aznavour - La Boheme
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
Summer time
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Sting and Stevie Wonder - Fragile (from Sting's 60th birthday concert)
Fitness scam
Aux Champs Elysees
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Stand By Me - Ben E. King (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
A primitive judge in Australia sparked outrage when he told a breastfeeding woman to leave his courtroom for being “a distraction"
La Mer (Beyond the Sea) – Avalon Jazz Band
Barcelona is feeling the heat as they face corruption charges over payments to former vice-president of Spain's referees' committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
Nathalie Song by Enzo Petrachi Stjepan Hauser Cello
Watch: “They are wounded but unbowed, unbreakable.”
Shape of My Heart - Sting (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Silicon Valley Bank: Struggles Threaten Tech Startup Ecosystem"
Radiohead - Creep
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Quizás,Quizás,Quizás - Andrea Bocelli - Jennifer Lopez
Old clip of Bill Gates saying Ukraine is a big, fat, corrupt sinkhole is going viral
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Multi-Couples
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
Pentatonix Havana
Motorist fined £650 after council ‘paints disabled bay around his car
Paula Cole - Autumn Leaves
Brexit Deal Falls Short: UK Regains Few Pre-Brexit Benefits
Oscar Benton Bensonhurst Blues
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
Nina Simone - ”I Put A Spell On You”. Vezi aici cum cântă Jeremy Ragsd
NIGHTWISH - The Phantom Of The Opera
Motorshow 2016 Tanjay Negros Oriental
Monica Bellucci - Ti Amo
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean Milena The Voice France 2018
Michael Buble (Help Me Make It Through The Night) feat Loren Allred
Memories Canon In D - Maroon 5 (Boyce Avenue piano acoustic cover)
Matteo Simoni - Marina
Maroon 5 - One More Night
Maroon 5 - Memories
Mark Knopfler - Brothers In Arms (Berlin 2007 Live)
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - Romeo And Juliet (Real Live Roadrunni
Marina, Marina - The LUCKY DUCKIES intimist live concert at Guimarães
Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On Mauranne The Voice France 2016
Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet - Joslin - Henri Mancini, Nino Rota
LoLa & Hauser - Love Story
Linkin Park Jay-Z - Numb Encore (Live 8 2005)
Hallelujah Mennel Ibtissem, The Voice France Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love
Leonard Cohen & Natasha Rostova - Dance me to the end of love
La casa de papel - Bella Ciao
La Camisa Negra
L'italiano (Toto Cutugno) - The Gypsy Queens
Juanes - La Camisa Negra
Jonathan and Charlotte - Britain's Got Talent 2012 Live Semi Final - U
John Powell - Assassin's Tango
Joe Cocker - You Can Leave Your Hat On (LIVE in Dortmund)
Joe Cocker - Unchain My Heart 2002 Live
Joe Cocker - A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Jay Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind LIVE
Jason Mraz - Im Yours (live)
Jarrod Radnich - Bohemian Rhapsody - Virtuosic Piano Solo
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
James Blunt - You're Beautiful & Bonfire Heart (Live at The Nobel Peac)
If You Go Away - Helen Merrill & Stan Getz (Tribute to Virna Lisi)
I Say a Little Prayer
Hotel California ( Eagles ) 1994 Live
Historia de un amor - Luz Casal. Vezi interpretarea Biancăi Sumanariu
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover) on Spot
Heart - Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin - Kennedy Center Honors
HAVANA by Camila Cabello Zumba Pre Cooldown TML Crew Kramer Pastra
HAUSER and Señorita - I Will Always Love You
HAUSER - Waka Waka
HAUSER - Lambada
HAUSER - Historia de un Amor
HAUSER - Despacito
Great Pretender
Georgia May Foote & Giovanni Pernice Samba to 'Volare' - Strictly Come
Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues
Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song
French Latino - Historia de un Amor
For A Few Dollars More The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live)
Flashdance • What a Feeling • Irene Cara
Filip Rudan - “Someone You Loved” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sez
Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
Enya - Only Time
Enrique Iglesias - Bailando (English Version) ft. Sean Paul
Enrique Iglesias - Bailamos
Elena Yerevan Historia de un amor
Ed Sheeran - Shape of You (Official Music Video)
Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony [with Andrea Bocelli]
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)
Easy On Me - Adele (Boyce Avenue 90’s style piano acoustic cover) on S
ERA - Ameno
ELENA YEREVAN- Cancion Del Mariachi-IN STUDIO-2017 DPR
Dust In The Wind - Kansas (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Despacito x Shape Of You - Pentatonix
Deep Purple - Child In Time - Live (1970)
David Foster When A Man Loves A WomanIt's A Mans World (SealMichael Bo
Dance me to the end of Love ( Pi-Air Design )
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. L.V.) [Official Music Video]
Conquest Of Paradise (Vangelis), played on Böhm Emporio organ
Cielito Lindo
Chico & The Gypsies - Bamboleo
Canción Del Mariachi - Antonio Banderas, Los Lobos • Desperado
Camila Cabello - Havana (Audio) ft. Young Thug
Camila Cabello - Havana ( cover by J.Fla )
California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas José Feliciano (Boyce Ave
Buster Benton - Money Is The Name of The Game
Hallelujah Pentatonix
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (Official Music Video)
Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door Emilia The Voice Kids France
Besame Mucho - Cesaria Evora
Ben E. King - Stand by Me Sax Cover Alexandra Ilieva Thomann
Bella Ciao
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
Bad Romance - Vintage 1920's Gatsby Style Lady Gaga Cover ft. Ariana Savalas & Sarah Reich(1)
BAMBOLEO - Gipsy Kings • Antonio Banderas, Katya Virshilas
BAILANDO (original)
Awesome Ukrainian yodeler - SOFIA SHKIDCHENKO (with English subtitles)
Avicii - The Nights
Atom - The Great Gig in the Sky
Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Official Ly
Antonio Banderas - Cancion del Mariachi (Desperado)
André Rieu - Zorba's Dance (Sirtaki)
André Rieu - Can't Help Falling In Love
André Rieu & Mirusia - Ave Maria
Andrew Reyes Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down The Voice 2020 (
Andreas Kümmert Whiter Shade Of Pale The Voice of Germany 2013 Showd
And I Love You So
All About That Bass - Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Alan Walker - Faded (Piano Cover)
Ain't No Sunshine -- Bill Withers (cover by Canen 12 y.o.)
African music
Adriana Vidović - “Creep” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
Adriana Vidović - “Believer” Nokaut 3 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
A Fistful of Dollars - The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Tuva
4 Beautiful Soundtracks Relaxing Piano [10min]
2CELLOS - Whole Lotta Love vs. Beethoven 5th Symphony [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
2CELLOS - Smooth Criminal (Live at Suntory Hall, Tokyo)
2CELLOS - Smells Like Teen Spirit [Live at Sydney Opera House]
13 Year Old Girl Playing Il Silenzio (The Silence) - André Rieu
094.All About That Bass
(Ghost) Riders In the Sky (American Outlaws Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams (Boyce Avenue ft. Conn
What a wonderful world
Moon river