Adam Smith International
ASI describes itself as non-partisan and “a wholly different, separate and independent” organisation from the Adam Smith Institute from which it originated. Nevertheless, it was made clear by Baroness Amos in a House of Lords debate that it is " the consultancy arm of the [Adam Smith Institute]".
ASI is a commercial enterprise which describes itself as a "strategic development company" which "works to grow economies, make govts more efficient, and strengthen security". Its practices specialise in govt reform and economic growth.AR-2017, p2 Works with govts, civil society and the private sector to "implement effective public policy and build strong institutions in countries at all stages of development".ref Translated, that means its mission is to bring the benefits of neoliberalism to developing countries.
- David Hopkins, Trustee
- Darren Hocquard, Trustee
The pair work for office, trust, corporate and yacht services wealth business Fiduchi Ltd, in Jersey.
- Adam Smith International Employee Ownership Trust,† set up in 2015, AR-2015
- Adam Smith Advisory Group Ltd, provision of services, CH
Adam Smith International is funded by its clients and international aid agencies, such as the Department for International Development.
- 2014: Company accounts reveal six-figure salaries for directors, and an after-tax profit of £14m. DfID spent nearly £90m of its money via ASI.
- ASI has won ~£450m in aid-funded contracts since 2011
- 2010-2015: ASI's turnover tripled to £130m.
- founding executives Andrew Kuhn, Amitabh Shrivastava and Peter Young
- founding director William Morrison, and ASI’s executive chairman
- Founded in 1992, ASI specialises in the provision of advisory services in govt and economic reform.
- Among its founders was Peter Young who, at the time, was a rising star at free-market think tank the Adam Smith Institute.
- interim chairman Rachel English
- Feb.2018: The DfID invited ASI to resume bidding on contracts, after it had "voluntarily" stepped back from bidding, and underwent a reform of its governance structure and codes of conduct.ref,ref
- Dec.2017: A BBC Panorama investigation claimed an ASI run scheme to support a civilian police force in Syria had put cash into the hands of jihadists. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office suspended the program while it conducted an investigation.ref,ref
- Dec.2016: Tried to deceive MPs and protect their lucrative business by faking glowing testimonials about their work overseas. It was a brazen attempt to ensure the company’s 36 lucrative contracts – worth £329m – were not cut. Young's salary would be well into seven figures, given that in one year alone he paid himself a dividend of £800,000. The International Development Committee later investigated the claims and found them largely false, but asserted that ASI, one of DFID’s largest for-profit contractors, “acted improperly.”ref
- Jun.2016: Peter Young had a private lunch with DFID’s most senior civil servant. Young also reported back to senior management on ‘a productive meeting’ at the Tory Party conference with Kelly Tolhurst, parliamentary private secretary to Priti Patel, DfID Secretary.
- Feb.2016: DfID froze the award of future contracts to ASI after a scathing report by the International Development Committee on the firm’s ‘inappropriate’ behaviour.
- 2015: DfID gave ASI £112.2m. It emerged that 9 executives had each received more than £1.5m tax-free.
- 2014: ASI gross profits were £17.4m; with net profit of £14.3m. DfID’s handouts were £88m. Chief executive Layth Bunni was paid almost £240,000.
- 2013: Justine Greening, International Development secretary, introduced new guidelines on transparency.
- 2012: ASI gross profits were £9m, with net profit of £6.8m. DfID’s handouts were £43m.
- 2010-2011: DfID gave ASI £37m, out of a total company turnover of £53.6m. Four of ASI’s directors received more than £1m each in dividends.
- 2005: the company received a further £22.5million from the Department for International Development (DfID).
- 2004: It emerged that the Labour government had paid ASI £118million in six years.
- ?date?: Among the controversies was the £444,000 ASI was paid to boost the public image of a water project in Tanzania which collapsed amid much recrimination about cost and incompetence.
- ?date?: former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind was concerned. His place on the ASI board earned him £35,000 a year, not including bonuses.
- Jan.21.2019: Private aid contractor receiving hundreds of millions from Tories pays tax haven firm to run employee ownership scheme. Adam Smith International is said to have won more than £450 million in government aid contracts since 2011. Despite being banned from bidding for UK aid contracts over allegations of impropriety and excessive profit-making in 2017, it is again earning millions from the government after being reinstated last year. The Red Roar.
- Dec.04.2017: Dirty tricks of aid barons paid millions of our money. Allegations that the firm managed a £12m UK Govt scheme which poured money into a brutal, jihadi-dominated ‘justice’ system in rebel-held Syria is the latest in a succession of ASI scandals. The Foreign Office has suspended the 3yr-old aid project. Richard Pendlebury, Daily Mail.
- Mar.02.2017: UK aid company bosses quit in crackdown on profiteering. The founders of Adam Smith International, one of the biggest UK foreign aid contractors, have stepped down after the govt froze future contracts with the firm over questions about its ethical integrity. The consultancy, which has come under pressure from the Department for International Development amid concerns about "culture and behaviour," announced a restructuring of its top team. Last month DfID cut off funding after it emerged that ASI, which has been entrusted with £450m in development cash since 2011, had tried to profiteer by exploiting leaked department documents. It was also heavily criticised for trying to "unduly influence" a parliamentary inquiry by engineering "letters of appreciation" from beneficiaries of its projects. The Commons International Development Committee said ASI’s actions were "deplorable", "entirely inappropriate" and showed a "serious lack of judgment". ASI has voluntarily withdrawn from the DfID procurement process until its reforms are completed. Matthew Weaver, Ben Quinn, The Guardian.
- Jan.08.2017: Nine aid bosses each get £1.5m tax free. Nine employees working for an international consultancy that has won £hundreds of millions of govt aid contracts each received more than £1.5m tax free in 2015. Jon Ungoed-Thomas, The Times.
- Apr.01.2016: UK aid budget swelling coffers of private firms, claims campaign group. Award of aid-funded contracts worth £450m to London-based consultancy shows funds are being diverted from poor, says Global Justice Now report. The govt is undermining its commitment to tackle poverty in the developing world by spending hundreds of millions of pounds of aid through a handful of UK-based consultancy firms, according to a report from the campaigning group Global Justice Now (GJN). The study, which focuses on the work of Adam Smith International (ASI), says the use of consultancies diverts aid money from those in greatest need, with the authors accusing the Department for International Development (DfID) of a “shift towards the private sector”. The report also questions how such spending sits with the govt's 2001 decision to “untie” its aid from British commercial interests. GJN’s study – The privatisation of UK aid: how Adam Smith International is profiting from the aid budget – says the London-based firm has won at least £450m of aid-funded contracts since 2011, and received nearly £90m of DfID money in 2014 alone. While the latter amount may be a small share of the total £6.8bn bilateral aid budget for that year, GJN points out that “it is still more than the entire amount spent on human rights and women’s equality organisations, or almost twice that spent on programmes to tackle sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and Aids”. The report claims that ASI is using DfID money to pursue a “free-market” agenda in developing countries, and that Nigerian electricity consumers are facing price increases of up to 45% because of what it terms “a controversial energy privatisation programme supported by UK aid through a £multi-million project implemented by ASI”. Sam Jones, The Guardian.
- Mar.2016: The Privatisation of UK Aid; How Adam Smith International is profiting from the Aid budget. After decades of work by campaigners and activists, in 2015 the govt legislated a commitment to spend 0.7% of its national income on international aid to tackle poverty around the world. But behind the scenes, this has been a lucrative time for aid-funded business. Consultancy firms, including Adam Smith International, are “taking an ever increasing share of the aid budget and enjoying generous profit margins”. In 2014, the DfID spent £90m through ASI, which is twice what DfID spent tackling HIV and Aids. Specifcally we call on DfID to: Justify why it has been contracting out projects to for-profit companies instead of being managed in-house or through an organisation in a developing country; Require full disclosure of contractors’ costs, fees and profit margins to be publicly available; Publish an action plan setting out how it will spend more through organisations in developing countries in the future. Global Justice Now. See also pdf.
- Adam Smith Institute: DfID Contracts. ... "Adam Smith International Ltd, which is the consultancy arm of the institute, is a separate organisation. It is affiliated to the institute as a self-financing commercial organisation." Baroness Amos, , Jan.13.2004. Original archived on May.07.2013.
- Darren John Hocquard. Connected to Runcorn Company Ltd, AIA Overseas Ltd, Easthill Development Ltd, Saint Nicholas Ltd, all registered in tax haven the British Virgin Islands. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Offshore Leaks Database, 2015.