The U.K. government has appointed a senior lawyer to investigate how Britain can encourage companies to list on the country’s stock market and halt a growing exodus that some fear is threatening the City of London’s status as one of the world’s top financial centers. Rachel Kent, a senior partner at law firm Hogan Lovells, will begin a review on Monday as part of the government’s ‘Edinburgh Reforms’ designed to boost investment by reducing regulation.
Kent will deliver within three months a review – focusing on investment research – that “seeks to develop concrete steps the government can take to enhance London’s status as Europe’s leading listings destination, and only second globally”, the U.K. Treasury said in an email. The appointment comes amid growing worries that the City of London’s attractiveness as a destination for companies to raise capital is waning. In just the last few weeks, Ireland-based building materials group CRH
a member of London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index, said it may shift its primary listing to New York. Chip designer ARM has rebuffed intense entreaties from the City and is also also looking to do an IPO in the U.S.. Low valuations are considered an important driver of companies eschewing London, according to analysts. The European equity strategy team at Citi this week noted that the U.K. stock market trades at a record 40% discount to Wall Street. “As a result of this wide value gap, newsflow indicates that CEOs of U.K. companies are facing renewed calls to re …