FCA grilled over influence of Saudi oil major on proposed rule changes

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FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey

The FCA has been asked by MPs to explain the influence a Saudi Arabian oil major has had on a proposed changes to UK listing rules.

The FCA announced in July 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.

But Treasury and Business select committee chairs Nicky Morgan and Rachel Reeves have written to FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey calling for an explanation about how much the Saudi company’s planned listing has influenced the consultation, the BBC reports.

Their letter asks: “To what extent was the FCA aware of any interest shown by Saudi Aramco in obtaining a UK listing, and if known, how far that interest influenced the consultation?”

Morgan, who bet out Jacob Rees-Mogg to head the influential Treasury committee, says the UK needs to protect its “world-class reputation” for upholding strong corporate governance, particularly as it exits the EU.

Investment Association chief executive Chris Cummings has previously said the FCA attempts to accommodate sovereign-controlled companies threaten key investor protections.

The Institute of Directors also raised concerns that rules had been “formulated without regard to available evidence“.