Company founders would be able to maintain control over their companies even after listing them on an exchange in London under proposals in a Treasury-commissioned independent report.
The Government said it would closely examine proposals by the UK listing review, led by Lord Hill, set out to attract more companies to list on the capital’s public exchanges.
The review recommends companies should be allowed to sell so-called dual-class shares in the premium listing segment of the London Stock Exchange. It would mean some shares would have more voting rights than others.
That would give founders and other directors the ability to sell shares with lesser voting rights and not lose control of the businesses during shareholder votes.
The report also recommended reducing the proportion of a company’s shares that must be publicly traded from 25% to 15%, and that the chancellor should report to Parliament on the state of the City of London every year.
“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,” Lord Hill said.
“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 UK is trying to carve out a role for the City of London after Brexit. In January Amsterdam overtook London as the biggest share trading centre in Europe, and shares traded through the UK dropped significantly after the transition period ended at the beginning of the year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We asked Lord Hill to lead this review because we wanted bold ideas. The UK is one of the best places in the world to start, grow and list a business – and we’re determined to enhance this reputation now we’ve left the EU.
“That means boosting the UK’s business environment and making sure we continue to lead the world in providing open, dynamic capital markets for existing and innovative companies alike, whilst protecting the high standards that underpin our status as a world-leading financial centre.”
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