David Freud, Baron Freud

As of 2012, Lord Freud is in charge of reform of the benefits system.


  • Whitgift School, an independent school in Croydon, south London.
  • Merton College, a college of the University of Oxford.

Business Career

  • Financial Times – journalist, writing the Lex column over a period of 4 years.
  • 1983, the firm then known as Rowe & Pitman.
    • Worked on more than 50 deals, raising more than £50bn in 19 countries. Many were high profile, including the flotations of Eurotunnel and EuroDisney, while he orchestrated the rescue of the Channel Tunnel railway link and National Air Traffic Services. His role in the deals, earned him a great deal of publicity and occasionally criticism.
  • By 2003, Freud had become the vice-chairman of investing banking at the firm, now known as UBS AG. He retired early at the age 53, claiming that he was bored with the City.
  • He later was chief executive of the Portland Trust, which aims “to promote the peace process” in Palestine and Israel using economic measures.

Political Career

  • 2006, Freud was appointed by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to review of the British welfare to work system.
    • His subsequent recommendations called for expanded private sector involvement in the welfare system, for substantial resources to be found to help those on Incapacity Benefit back into “economic activity” and for single parents to be required to take paid employment earlier.
    • Although his recommendations on single parents were immediately adopted, when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in June 2007 other restructuring measures were “soft-pedalled”.
  • 2008, Rehired as an adviser to the government when James Purnell was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
    • He was involved in producing a white paper, published in December 2008, which would require most people receiving benefits either to participate in some form of employment or prepare formally to find paid employment later.
  • February 2009, Freud joined the Conservative Party, which at that time was not in government. He was given a life peerage as Baron Freud, of Eastry in the county of Kent, and became a shadow minister for welfare in the House of Lords.

Background Connections

  • As his name would suggest, Lord Freud has another claim to fame: he is pioneering psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s great-grandson.


‘People who are poorer should be prepared to  take the biggest risks; they’ve got least to lose,’

Quotes About Himself

What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
My weaknesses are my strengths. I’m obsessive so I don’t give up but I have a low boredom threshold

What motivates you?
Intellectual curiosity

What was your biggest success as a banker?
Creating an early crisis in the Channel tunnel rail link, which meant we saved it

And biggest failure?
Eurotunnel was partly a success but also a failure

What would you have done if you hadn’t become an investment banker?
I probably would have stayed a journalist

What’s your favourite business book?
Ron Chernow’s House of Morgan
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2006/aug/04/4


4 August 2006 – Confessions of an apologetic investment banker – The Guardian




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