The UK is set to modernize its listing rules to attract higher-growth and “blank check” blotting from SPAC companies to London, Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak said after a government-backed review that the capital was on the decline after Brexit. Reuters reports.
The London Stock Exchange has faced tougher competition from New York and Amsterdam since the UK left the EU entirely on December 31st.
Sunak commissioned a review of the listing rules last November. Under the leadership of former EU Commissioner Jonathan Hill, she published her recommendations on Wednesday.
“The review has done more and I am keen that we move quickly to the recommendations and cement the UK’s reputation at the forefront of global financial services,” Sunak said in a statement.
The Financial Conduct Authority will publicly consult the proposed changes, although some would require legislation to implement.
The composition of the FTSE index highlights another challenge: the most important companies listed in London are either financially or more representative of the “old economy” than the companies of the future. The recommendations in this report are not about bridging a gap between us and other global centers by suggesting radical new exits for a competitive advantage. It’s about filling a gap that has already opened. All recommendations are consistent with existing practices in other well-regulated financial centers in the US, Asia and Europe.
The changes aim to bring London in line with New York and other financial centers by allowing founders to list their business while staying in control.
Hill recommends allowing the stock structures of two classes to give directors and founders better voting rights on certain decisions for five years. According to the retail investor principle, this contradicts the “one share, one vote” principle. The minimum free float or amount of shares in a company or in public hands would be reduced from 25% to 15%.
Hill also recommends liberalizing the listing rules for special purpose vehicles, or SPACs, whose New York IPOs have skyrocketed over the past year, with Amsterdam also picking up some lately.
Follow EU Today on social media:
Our team of independent correspondents based across Europe and beyond is at the center of geopolitical dynamics. We are united by our commitment to free and impartial journalism and our dedication to the concept of true and unrestricted democracy. We take our job very seriously!