12 July, 2016
Exclusive: May mentioned Amazon and Starbucks in speech about tax avoidance
Theresa May with her husband Philip John May outside the Houses of Parliament before she makes a statement after Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest Getty
The relatively unknown investment fund where Theresa May’s husband Philip works as a senior executive is one of the world’s largest and most powerful financial institutions, controlling $1.4 trillion in assets.
Its portfolio also includes $20 billion of shares in Amazon and Starbucks, both of which were cited by the Prime Minister-designate in her pledge to crack down on tax avoidance yesterday.
Latest filings to US authorities show that Los Angeles based Capital Group owns huge stakes in a variety of companies, including investment bank JP Morgan Chase, defence giant Lockheed Martin, tobacco company Philip Morris International, the pharmaceutical sector’s Merck & Co, and also Ryanair.
The company, which has a low profile outside the financial sector, has confirmed that Mr May, a pension fund expert, works out of its Mayfair office in London, with a spokeswoman telling The Independent: “Philip is a client relationship manager who stays in contact with organisations and institutions in the UK to ensure they are happy with the service being delivered by Capital Group and that we understand their goals. Philip is not involved with our investment research or portfolio management activities.”
However, the company he works for has benefited from its investments in the likes of Amazon and Starbucks, both of which have been criticised for tax avoidance structures and which were mentioned by Ms May as she outlined her manifesto for Downing Street yesterday.
She said: “We need to talk about tax. It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Amazon, Google or Starbucks: you have a duty to put something back, you have a debt to your fellow citizens, you have a responsibility to pay your taxes. So as Prime Minister, I will crack down on individual and corporate tax avoidance and evasion.”
Capital International’s office in London (Google)
It is not clear whether she was aware that her husband’s company was such a significant investor in the Amazon and Starbucks.
According to latest filings on 31 March this year, Capital Group, through its various divisions and funds, including Capital World Investors and Capital Research Global Investors, owned at least 32 million shares in Amazon, worth about $20bn.