In a bid to beef up public company listings, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is seeking to allow dual-class share structures into its so-called “premium” segment, among other proposed reforms.
Following a pair of government reviews that made recommendations for improving the climate for companies to go public, the FCA has launched a consultation on a series of proposed reforms that aim to enhance its listings regime by reducing barriers to going public.
According to one of those reviews, the number of listed companies in the U.K. is down by about 40% since 2008 and the U.K. accounted for about only 5% of global initial public offering activity between 2015 and 2020.
The FCA is now proposing to allow a “targeted form” of dual-class share structures in its premium listing segment to enable tech firms in particular to go public without ceding voting control.
The FCA is also proposing to reduce the minimum “free float” requirement from 25% to 10% and raise the minimum market cap threshold for certain listings to bolster investor confidence in the types of companies being taken public.
By reducing barriers to listing, the FCA said that it’s also seeking to “broaden investor access to companies in higher growth sectors.”
“Our proposals should result in a wider range of listings in the UK, and increased choice for investors while we continue to ensure appropriate levels of investor protection,” said Clare Cole, director of market oversight at the FCA, in a release.
“They are intended to encourage high quality companies to list earlier, and so increase the possibility of a wider investor base being able to access growth in these companies,” Cole added.
The FCA is also soliciting input on the way certain listing rules work, with a view to increasing their flexibility while maintaining corporate governance and shareholder protection standards.
The consultation on the reform proposals will run until Sept. 14.
The FCA intends to finalize its reforms by the end of the year, although wider-ranging changes to the overall structure of its listing regime are also under consideration for the future.