It is very encouraging that the government has used this opportunity to make reforms in our financial markets a priority, and we welcome the reforms to financial services regulators’ objectives to ensure a greater focus on growth and international competitiveness. But it is essential that their objectives enable and require them to take a proportionate approach to allow smaller growth companies to thrive, and make a major contribution to the well-being of the UK economy.
The UK finds itself at a particularly pivotal moment, faced with the challenge of attempting to grow out of recession that is hindered by inflation and driving the right type of investment that can benefit all.
We can capitalise on the opportunity of Brexit. Lord Hill’s Listing Review was the first step in the right direction. Since then we have seen HMT and the FCA push on with consulting on reforms on how new and existing companies raise capital. The intention to legislate on these reforms is an indication that this government has applied the right level of urgency to making these essential changes.
It is also positive that the government has decided to push ahead with the formation of ARGA. It seems to have listened to the concerns of industry by taking a more proportionate approach to audit and corporate governance reforms than was proposed in last year’s BEIS consultation.
However, small and mid-cap directors will still be worried about what’s in the detail of the government’s legislative proposals. In particular, issues such as managed shared audits, increasing directors’ duties on financial reporting, and the definition of Public Interest Entities will be key concerns.
The government has set itself a very busy schedule but consultation is still necessary, particularly on these technical and delicate economic issues.
We will continue to work with legislators, regulators and policymakers on any further consultations to ensure real choice is created for companies and their investors.
At the QCA, we want to achieve an environment where small and mid-sized quoted companies can achieve long-term, sustainable growth which benefits both investors and wider society. Whilst the Queen’s speech is a welcome development to enable us to achieve this, we, as well as our community need to see swifter progress in modernising our public equity markets for the benefit of our economy.