Chancellor Rishi Sunak will launch a consultation in the coming weeks on a proposal to enable the National Security Council to prevent companies from listing on London’s financial markets over national security concerns. Decisions regarding the eligibility of companies to list in London are currently made by the UK Listing Authority, a part of the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”).
A Treasury spokesperson confirmed the plan to create a targeted new power to block listings that pose a national security risk. Under proposals advanced by the consultation, ministers would be able to block a float if it gave a company access to state or commercial secrets. The proposals were first set out in a 2019 Treasury policy brief called the “Economic Crime Plan”, after which the House of Commons Treasury select committee noted that it would not be reasonable to expect a body such as the FCA to recognise any potential national security threat on its own and block a listing.