London's FCA to delay overhaul of stock market for Saudi Aramco IPO – report –

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The City of London’s Financial Conduct Authority has delayed an overhaul of stock market rules to enable Saudi Aramco to float its $2 trillion IPO in London, according to a British media report.

In July, the Financial Conduct Authority launched a consultation to create a separate category of premium listings for companies controlled by sovereign states, which would allow Saudi Arabia to select London as the main international venue for the IPO.

While the authority had previously noted that the new rule would be published by 2017, the UK’s The Times newspaper reports that it is understand that the FCA is still considering responses to the consultation, with a decision unlikely for several weeks.

According to the Times, “all options remain on the table”, including implementing the plans, further consultations on revising them or scrapping them completely.

A number of investors have criticised the FCA’s proposal. Royal London Asset Management, for example, has said that the proposed new category “corrupts the principles of good governance, transparency and investor protections.”

The FCA’s chief executive, Andrew Bailey, has for his part insisted that the plans “create a balance between open markets and integrity” and denied that the new category would weaken investor protections, according to the Times.

In a December interview, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that plans Saudi Aramco’s IPO are “on track” as scheduled for this year, and that all options on where to list shares.

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