An independent review commissioned by the UK Government into London's listing market recommends liberalising the rules regarding special purpose acquisition companies (Spacs), and giving founders more say in the running of their business.
The Review marks out a series of reforms to the London market in a bid to increase its attractiveness in post-Brexit Briain.
Chief among these is modernising listing rules to allow dual class share structures in the London Stock Exchange’s premium listing segment, giving directors enhanced voting rights on certain decisions, and reducing free float requirements from 25% to 15%.
The report also calls for a fundamental review of the prospectus regime so that in future, admission to a regulated market and offers to the public are treated separately
Another key recommendation entails a revisit of the rules around special purpose acquisition companies, which have gained rapid and considerable traction in the USA and sparked a wave of public floats by fintech companies. In 2021 alone, 143 Spacs have raised c$43bn in the US, according to data from Refinitiv.
Lord Hill of Oareford, who chaired the review, comments: "The proposals we are announcing today are designed to encourage investment in UK businesses, support the development of innovative growth sectors such as tech and life sciences, benefit the companies who choose to float in London, simplify and streamline processes, encourage a more dynamic regulatory regime, and improve the UK’s competitive position, ultimately providing more opportunities for millions of investors to share in growth.
"The recommendations in this report are not about opening a gap between us and other global centres by proposing radical new departures to try to seize a competitive advantage. They are about closing a gap which has already opened up. All the recommendations are consistent with existing practices in other well-regulated financial centres in the USA, Asia and Europe."
The Financial Conduct Authority, which will be charged with overseeing any reforms, says it will pyublish a consultation paper by the summer with a view to introducing rule changes by late 2021.