UK to review London listing rules to attract tech firms post-Brexit

Review may consider a reduction to the 25% available shares requirement for listing on the London Stock Exchange

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced the launch of a new review into listing rules, in an attempt to lure more tech companies to London.

Launched today and led by former EU financial services commissioner Jonathan Hill, the review aims to facilitate better access to the finance required by businesses to grow, as well as strengthen the UK’s position within the global tech industry following Brexit.

According to Sunak, Lord Hill “will be spearheading efforts to reform our listings rules and help companies raise capital in the UK’s open, well-regulated and transparent markets”.

“As we start this new chapter for UK financial services, we want to attract the most successful and innovative companies to list and grow here in the UK,” Sunak added in a statement. “More dynamic equity markets will enhance the UK’s position as a world-leading financial centre, and drive growth and innovation across the wider economy.”

Currently, firms hoping to list on the London Stock Exchange must have a minimum of 25% of shares available for trading, something which business owners have said makes it more difficult to maintain control of their companies and prevent hostile takeover.

Lord Hill, aided by financial services, legal, and academic experts, is expected to develop a list of recommendations which he will present to the government as well as the Financial Conduct Authority early next year.

Commenting on the announcement, Lord Hill said that, in order “to drive the economic recovery, we need the strongest possible financial services sector in the UK”.

“Helping to improve the climate for raising capital in London is only one part of getting the whole financial ecosystem right, but I hope it is an area where we can make some quick early progress and help show a path forward,” he added. “I am very keen to involve the industry in our work, which is why we are kicking things off today with our Call for Evidence.”

The news of the review launch is the latest attempt from the UK government to make London more appealing to tech giants. In August, Sunak was reportedly considering dropping the 2% Digital Services Tax in a bid to avoid any potential points of contention during upcoming trade talks with the US. The tax was previously branded as “unfair” by the country’s officials, with trade representative Robert Lighthizer having already announced plans to investigate all countries that are adopting similar rules.

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