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Revolving Door


In finance, the term “revolving door” is a metaphor that refers to the movement of individuals between roles in private sector companies and government regulatory institutions. It emphasizes the potential conflicts of interest that may arise when people move back and forth between related industries, often involving financial services. The term can sometimes have a negative connotation, suggesting the potential for favoritism or corruption due to these close relationships.


The phonetics of the keyword “Revolving Door” is: /rɪˈvɑlvɪŋ dɔːr/

Key Takeaways

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  1. The “revolving door” phenomenon: This term is used to describe the movement of individuals between positions of public service and jobs in the private sector, often within industries that they once regulated or had significant dealings with.
  2. Effects on policy and regulations: Critics of the revolving door phenomenon argue that it facilitates an improper close relationship between industry and government, with a potential for conflicts of interest or corruption. Government officials may enact policies favorable to certain industries with the expectation of a future job offer within that industry, or alternatively, might use their former government connections for the benefit of their new private employer.
  3. Attempts at regulation: To prevent potential misuse or corruption, some countries have implemented “cooling off” periods during which public officials are prohibited from taking up private sector jobs within certain industries after leaving government. However, the effectiveness of these measures varies depending on their enforcement and applicable provisions.


The term “Revolving Door” in business/finance is important because it refers to a common practice where individuals move between roles in public service and private sector jobs. This movement can facilitate a unique exchange of knowledge, expertise, and contacts, but can also lead to potential conflicts of interest. The revolving door phenomenon is particularly prevalent in highly regulated industries such as finance, healthcare, or defense. It’s crucial since it poses questions about objectivity, fairness, and transparency, thus affecting decision-making processes within business environments and public institutions. It’s an important concept in discussions concerning regulatory and ethical practices in the business world.


The term “revolving door” in finance and business is primarily used to depict the dynamic movement of individuals between sectors, particularly between the private sector and government bodies. The revolving door phenomenon serves crucial purposes and exists to promote a seamless transfer of knowledge, expertise, and competencies between government and private sector roles which generally enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of both sectors. By moving through this revolving door, professionals can use their technical knowledge gained in the private sector to shape robust and practical regulatory frameworks when they switch to public roles. Furthermore, their understanding of policy-making process and regulatory landscape can be instrumental in guiding business operations and strategy when they return to the private sector.The revolving door is not just about individual career transitions; it also facilitates a certain type of symbiosis between the private and public sectors, fostering improved understanding and cooperation. It functions as an essential bridge, enabling a bi-directional flow of knowledge and expertise that can result in better informed and more balanced decision-making. Government bodies can benefit from the unique insights into the needs and realities of private businesses when formulating their policies while businesses can gain valuable perspectives on government processes, priorities, and regulatory concerns. However, it’s important to note that there are ethical considerations surrounding the revolving door practice as it might give rise to conflict of interest especially in regulation-prone sectors like finance.


1. Politics and Private Sector: This is probably one of the most prominent examples of the revolving door phenomenon. It is not uncommon to see politicians move into high-paying jobs within the private sector after their terms end. For instance, after serving as the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne became Editor of the Evening Standard newspaper and an advisor to investment fund BlackRock, even while he was still a sitting MP.2. Regulatory Agencies and Corporations: The “revolving door” in public agencies and corporations happens when individuals shift jobs from regulatory agencies to the industries they once regulated. An example of this is Mary Jo White, who moved between roles in the SEC, a government regulatory agency, and Debevoise & Plimpton, a private law firm that advises clients on matters including SEC regulations.3. Pharmaceuticals and Health Care Sector: A prime example in this space is Scott Gottlieb, who was a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. Notably, after his time at the FDA, he joined Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, as a member of the Board of Directors. This is a classic revolving door example, where individuals move between roles that regulate the industry and the very industry they were once intended to regulate.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the term Revolving Door in finance and business context?

The Revolving Door refers to the movement of individuals between roles in public and private sectors. Usually high-level employees in government agencies are hired by companies they previously regulated or contracted with.

Is the Revolving Door practice legal?

Yes, the practice is generally legal but can lead to potential conflicts of interest. Specific rules and regulations exist in certain countries and sectors to manage this practice and prevent unethical situations.

What are some examples of the Revolving Door?

A common example could be a high-ranking official from a regulatory agency, like the Securities and Exchange Commission, moving to a major Wall Street firm. This can also happen in reverse, with someone in a major firm moving to a regulatory agency.

How can the Revolving Door effect influence policymaking?

The Revolving Door can theoretically influence policymaking as former industry executives may use their new regulatory positions to create favorable laws for their previous employers. Similarly, regulatory officials moving to private companies may leverage their knowledge of public policy to benefit their new employers.

Are there any measures in place to prevent unethical scenarios related to the Revolving Door?

Yes, different jurisdictions have established rules to mitigate this, like cooling-off periods that prevent individuals from moving directly from a government role to a related private sector job and vice versa.

How can the public find out about Revolving Door situations?

Publicly held companies must disclose certain key hires and board appointments, which can often reveal Revolving Door scenarios. Media, NGOs, and watchdog agencies also keep an eye on potential Revolving Door situations.

What are the benefits of the Revolving Door practice?

The practice can bring in unique perspectives and expertise to both the public and private sectors. It can help in understanding complex financial regulations, policies, and facilitate better decision making.

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