PLUS Markets calls for clarity and competition from listings review

28 April 2008

PLUS Markets Group (“PLUS”) is responding to the FSA’s review of the listings regime with a call for greater clarity and a better understanding of the choices and associated risks available to companies and funds seeking a full listing in the UK. In particular, PLUS encourages the FSA to re-affirm its position as the recognisable owner of the Official List to promote competition for listings across the exchanges.

The review of the structure and brand identity of the UK Official List has been warmly welcomed by PLUS as the newest fully authorised stock exchange in the EU. PLUS had recently received Recognised Investment Exchange (RIE) status, allowing it to open a market (the PLUS-listed market) for securities seeking a full listing in the UK and access to the deepest pools of institutional capital in London. Its PLUS-listed market complements PLUS’ successful growth company market (the PLUS-quoted market) and provides competition and choice in an area previously monopolised by the London Stock Exchange.

The international prestige associated with a London listing, underpinned by rigorous regulatory standards, is a major contributor to the position of the City as a global centre for IPOs. The process by which issuers are able to access such a listing, and the resultant pools of capital, however, still needs further clarity and visibility. PLUS considers that, with the PLUS-listed market now providing a choice of listing venue to issuers, the FSA review is a timely opportunity to reinforce the competitive landscape currently existing in London through the re-positioning of the listing brand as truly venue neutral.

The opportunity for increased competition in the listing of companies, funds and other products has existed in the UK since 2000, with the creation of a distinct and separate listing authority (the FSA’s UKLA), which operates independently of the stock exchanges that admit listed securities to trading. PLUS is the first venue to take up this opportunity and now offers access to a London listing at a significantly reduced cost, when compared to the alternatives provided by the London Stock Exchange or other European exchanges. The creation of the legal framework capable of supporting such competition, however, requires more work. PLUS sees it as essential to challenge the historic perceptions of what it means to be “Officially Listed”, to raise awareness for new entrants in this space, and to re-align the concept of listing with the post-MiFID model of exchange competition.

Head of Capital Markets Paul Haddock commented, “Competition for primary market listings has so far only been a possibility with the transfer of the listing function to the FSA. It is now a reality following the launch of our PLUS-listed market, which provides a compelling alternative to the offerings of other exchanges. However, work needs to be done to build upon the regulatory framework already in place to facilitate such competition, to re-align the listing brand in the public perception with the pro-competitive principles that are already well understood in other parts of the UK equity market post-MiFID. We therefore welcome the FSA’s review and look forward to a clearer and more competitive regime for the UK.”

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