• Sunday, June 16, 2024

Business

UK finance regulator to simplify London listing rules

The FCA stated that it “proposes to reform and streamline the listing rules in the UK to help attract a broader range of companies, encourage competition, and improve choice for investors.”

FCA chief Nikhil Rathi. (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

Britain’s finance regulator unveiled plans to ease London stock exchange flotation regulations, in the face of stiff competition from New York.

In a statement issued on Tuesday (2), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stated that it “proposes to reform and streamline the listing rules in the UK to help attract a broader range of companies, encourage competition, and improve choice for investors.”

The news comes as London’s top-tier FTSE 100 stock index fights to remain a worldwide influence following 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.

“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.

(AFP)

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