Business Maverick

Business Maverick

City of London Firms Back U.K.’s Plan to Rewrite Listing Rules

A cyclist passes the London Stock Exchange in London, U.K., on Monday, March 22, 2021. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the country that people 'must' stay at home and certain businesses must close on March 23, 2020.

Some of the City of London’s biggest firms are backing government proposals designed to attract more business.

Bankers, brokers and accountants “largely supported” proposals unveiled earlier this year by the U.K. government to boost London’s listing regime, according to a report Friday by the financial center’s governing body.

Interviewees — including representatives from the London Stock Exchange Group Plc, Deutsche Bank AG and law firm Linklaters — back the introduction of weighted voting rights on the premium segment of the London stock exchange to give founders more control over their companies, and lowering the minimum stake that has to be floated in an IPO.

The support will be welcome news for the U.K. government after some of London’s biggest investors have expressed concerns that changing standards could weaken investor protections. When Deliveroo Plc listed in March, its dual-class structure was criticized by the likes of Legal & General Investment Management, even though the company is confined to the standard segment of the LSE for now.

With over $10 billion of IPOs this year, London is the biggest listing venue in Europe, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That lags New York, where nearly $69 billion has been raised, and Hong Kong, which has drawn $20 billion of listings.

“It is crucial that businesses around the globe can access the U.K.’s equity capital markets, said Catherine McGuinness, chair of the policy and resources committee at the City of London Corporation. “We should act now to ensure that the U.K. remains internationally attractive as a listing venue.”

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