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National security could become a reason for denying companies the opportunity to list on the London Stock Exchange – Criminal law

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National security could become a reason for denying companies the opportunity to list on the London Stock Exchange

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Syed Rahman of Financial Crime Specialists Rahman Ravelli examines the thinking behind the proposal.

Plans are underway to use national security as a motive to prevent companies from listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak plans to begin consultations this month on proposed tougher flotation rules. The move was prompted by growing fears about the rise of “dirty money” businesses.

The UK Listing Authority, part of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), decides which companies can be listed on the stock exchange. It has been reported that the Chancellor is now seeking to strengthen these powers by taking into account the issue of national security.

A Treasury statement explains: “The UK’s reputation for its clean and transparent markets makes it an attractive global financial center. We plan to reinforce this by taking new targeted power to block listings that pose a risk to national security and will launch a consultation to inform its design.

Rishi Sunak had previously said Britain would revise its listing rules to attract more high growth companies and blank checks. The FCA has said it will use its freedom from European Union rules to regulate markets more flexibly and has presented proposals to change its current regime to make it more attractive to PSPCs (acquiring companies to special vocation).

Remember that there are already legal measures to verify sources of funding. The UK also enforces strict sanctions and anti-money laundering controls. The question, as usual, is how rigorously these measures are applied.

The proposals currently being discussed would send a message about the importance attached to clean and transparent markets. But they must be designed so as not to discourage international investment.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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