Britain approves new rules to boost London as global listing centre

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LONDON, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Britain’s markets watchdog said it will introduce new rules on Friday to boost London’s role as a global centre for listing companies to help catch up with New York and meet increased competition from the European Union following Brexit.

The revised listings rules, which were put out to public consultation earlier this year, will allow a targeted form of dual class share structures that allow a company’s founder to maintain a degree of control for a certain period.

It is a feature of the New York market which has attracted many tech company listings.

A minimum of 10% of a company’s shares must be in public hands, known as the free float, down from 25%. Minimum market capitalisation for both the premium and standard listing segments will rise to 30 million pounds from 700,000 pounds.

Some of the changes, which come into effect on Dec. 3, have attracted opposition from investor groups worried about investor protections being diluted.

The government, however, is keen to help the City of London catch up with New York in listings and meet tougher competition from EU financial centres like Amsterdam.

“We need to act to meet the needs of an evolving marketplace,” said Clare Cole, the FCA’s director of market oversight.

“These changes ensure the UK’s markets maintain their reputation for dynamism, helping support the new types of companies seeking the investment that drives economic growth and by giving investors more choice with appropriate protection.”

(Reporting by Huw Jones, Editing by Iain Withers)

Photo – The sign of the City of London is pictured near the Guildhall in London, Britain. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

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