Concerns raised over political influence on FCA consultation

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The Treasury select committee remains concerned about political influence over an FCA consultation on UK listing rules as the regulator confirms it met with a Saudi Arabian oil major shortly before announcing the proposed changes.

The FCA announced in June it was fast tracking a consultation on proposals to create a new premium listings category for companies controlled by sovereign countries.

It came as Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s largest companies, began a global search for a stock market to list 5 per cent of its shares – less than the 25 per cent currently required under existing UK listing rules.

The deadline for feedback closes today.

Treasury select committee chairwoman Nicky Morgan confirmed today she has received a letter from FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey in response to her queries over the influence of Saudi Aramco on the proposed changes.

Bailey confirms the FCA met with the company earlier in the year, but argued it is normal for the regulator to meet with potential listing candidates. He adds that the FCA emphasised the listing rules were under review.

Morgan says the committee will examine the issue further and will take evidence from Bailey later this month.

“Questions remain about the level of political involvement in the consultation. The UK’s world-class reputation for upholding strong corporate governance mustn’t be watered down.”

Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee Rachel Reeves says what is good for City traders is not necessarily good for the country’s economy or investors.

“It is not at all clear how taking these steps will boost jobs, investment or returns to investors in the UK and I look forward to examining the FCA’s proposals once their consultation has concluded.”