UK regulator looks to simplify London listing rules
LONDON -Britain’s financial regulator on Tuesday launched proposals to simplify London stock market flotation rules, amid fierce competition from New York.
The Financial Conduct Authority “proposes to reform and streamline the listing rules in the UK to help attract a wider range of companies, encourage competition and improve choice for investors”, it said in a statement.
The development come as London’s top-tier FTSE 100 shares index battles to remain a global force after Brexit.
London has already lost its crown as the top European trading hub following Britain’s departure from the European Union in early 2021, despite earlier post-Brexit reforms.
The FCA said Tuesday that some issuers and advisers regarded rules for UK listings as “too complicated and onerous”.
The watchdog proposes “significant changes” to the rulebook, including replacing standard and premium listing segments with one single category for equity shares in commercial firms.
“The proposed changes aim to provide a simpler and more accessible UK listing regime for companies, improving the attractiveness of listing in the UK and providing a wider range of investment opportunities for investors,” it said.
Tuesday’s news comes after the London stock market took a heavy knock in March after UK-based Arm, a giant of semiconductor design, chose New York for an initial public offering.
That announcement came hot on the heels of news that building materials giant CRH would switch its primary market listing to New York from London.
“London is a major international market with a deservedly good reputation globally among companies aiming to raise capital,” added FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi on Tuesday.
“Our proposed reforms would significantly rebalance the burden of regulation to the benefit of listed companies and investors.”
The FCA will consult with interested parties on the proposals until June, before publishing new IPO rules in late 2023 or early 2024.
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