Report on the UK Listing Review, chaired by Lord Hill
The UK Listing Review, led by Lord Hill, and launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in November 2020 was released on Wednesday 3 March 2021. This forms part of the Chancellor’s plan to strengthen the UK’s position as a world-leading financial centre.
The Review examined how companies raise equity capital on UK public markets and makes a series of recommendations to improve the process, whilst maintaining the high standards of corporate governance, shareholder rights and transparency. The reforms put forward in the Review are designed to “make it easier for the world’s most innovative firms to list and grow in the UK”.
The key recommendations of the Review are centred on updating rules around free float requirements and dual class share structures, and include specifically:
- Modernising listing rules to allow dual class share structures in the LSE’s premium listing segment, giving directors (in particular, founders) enhanced voting rights on certain decisions, with safeguards to maintain high corporate governance standards;
- Reducing free float requirements – the amount of a company’s shares that are in public hands – from 25% to 15% and allow companies to use other measures to demonstrate liquidity;
- Rebranding and repositioning the LSE’s standard listing segment to increase its appeal to companies of all sizes and types;
- A fundamental review of the prospectus regime so that in future, admission to a regulated market and offers to the public are treated separately; and
- Liberalising the rules regarding special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), with appropriate safeguards for investors.
The next step is for the government to examine the Review’s recommendations and set out next steps.
The UK Listing Review’s full recommendations and Lord Hill’s letter to the Chancellor can be accessed here.
Published 3 March, 2021