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London, November 20 2023 For Immediate Release


Almost one in four quoted companies currently see no advantage to being publicly quoted

Optimism over business prospects and recruitment plans at lowest point since onset of the Covid-19 pandemic

In the QCA survey’s 12-year history, it has never been harder to raise funds via the public markets, companies say

Members declare strong support for ISA reforms and stamp duty reduction ahead of this week’s pivotal Autumn Statement

The Quoted Companies Alliance today lays bare the parlous state of London’s public markets and calls on the Chancellor to act decisively in his Autumn Statement this Wednesday to revive them.

The QCA’s Small and Mid-cap Sentiment Index reports widespread concern about depressed valuations, lack of investor interest and excessive compliance holding back corporate growth and performance.

While many companies see a boost from going public, including greater access to capital and increased credibility, almost one in four currently see no advantage to maintaining a share listing.

Respondents say it has never been harder to raise funds via the public markets at any point during the 12 years the survey has been running. In fact, for only the second time in its history, companies say that if they were to raise capital over the next year, they are more likely to do so via bank finance than tapping the public market.

In addition, optimism over UK economic prospects has slid compared to six months ago, compounded by geopolitical uncertainty and higher interest rates.

Companies are still expecting to increase headcount in the coming year, but optimism over their own business prospects and recruitment plans has fallen to the lowest point since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Directors do see some solutions that would improve life on the public markets, however. Some 53% say that diverting more ISA savings into UK equities would have a notable impact on their companies. And almost one in four (38%) think that removing stamp duty from the trading in shares of Main Market companies outside the FTSE 100 would be beneficial too.

In addition to these two asks, in the Autumn Statement this Wednesday the QCA is calling for the government to:

  • Build on existing investment incentives through the extension of sunset clauses beyond 2025 for Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and introduce a new “UK Growth Trust” with wider eligibility;
  • Fast-track the introduction of a Research Platform, funded through the introduction of a stamp duty rebate, that will quickly expand the volume and value of equity research that is available to investors of all sizes.

James Ashton, Chief Executive of the Quoted Companies Alliance, said

“We thought long and hard about how to present this data – and decided we simply had to tell it like it is.

“Talking down London’s public markets is no way to plot their revival, but these survey findings detail how tough life is for many companies whose shares are publicly traded.

“They act as a grim reminder that if London is to remain an international listings venue of scale and repute, the time to act is now.

“The constituents of the FTSE 100 will always be fine, but the “long tail” of companies and their supporters that contribute immeasurably to the City’s broad ecosystem are suffering. A cocktail of structural and cyclical factors is harming confidence and the ability to invest and grow.

“These stocks offer infinite variety. Many are backing an array of exciting, emerging technologies that have the potential to power regional economies across the UK for years to come.

“We applaud the government reforms to the public markets set in train by Lord Hill’s UK Listings Review, which was launched three years ago this week. Indeed, we contributed to shaping many of them through our ongoing close dialogue with government and regulators.

“But with the loss of 100 public companies from the London markets in the past year alone, more must be done so that these markets work for their current customers as well as the next generation of entrepreneurial ventures.

“That means more capital getting to the companies that need it most. Let’s see UK pension funds finally stepping up to channel British assets into British prospects.

“That means more retail involvement in share ownership, which bonds workers with their employers and consumers to their favourite brands. We need ISA reform, but also internet platforms that encourage stewardship and facilitate productive communications between companies and their ultimate owners.

“That means a more enlightened approach to governance and assurance. Audit quality is very welcome of course, but smaller companies’ concerns over auditor affordability and availability is a looming crisis.

“And that means more fresh thinking over liquidity. It can’t be right that public funds are being shepherded into illiquid, hard-to-value private equity and venture capital-backed assets in pursuit of growth while compliance departments order fund managers to withdraw from small-cap stocks for fear they won’t be able to liquidate their portfolios in a hurry.

“We hope the Chancellor acts boldly this Wednesday. At the QCA we stand ready to supply insight and guidance distilled from our membership as required.”


On behalf of the QCA, YouGov surveyed 101 companies between 24 October to 13 November 2023.

View the full QCA Small and Mid-cap Sentiment Index here.

The QCA Small and Mid-cap Sentiment Index has been carried out since 2011.

For further Information please contact:

Ruby Halabi

Communications Officer, The Quoted Companies Alliance


T: 020 7397 8140

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