February 7, 2018 / 4:44 PM / 10 months ago

UK watchdog wrestling with rule change to lure Aramco IPO

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Saudi Aramco is seen at the 20th Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MOES 2017) in Manama, Bahrain, March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s markets watchdog said it wants a practical compromise on proposed rules that would allow sovereign-controlled companies like oil giant Saudi Aramco to list on the stock market in London.

The Financial Conduct Authority has completed a public consultation on its proposals for creating a new category of sovereign-controlled firms seeking a listing.

It would mean relaxing a rule that companies float at least 25 percent of their shares, and British fund managers have expressed concerns about governance. London is competing with rival listing centers like New York for what would be the world’s biggest IPO.

“There was a range of views on both sides of this issue,” FCA Chief Executive Andrew Bailey told parliament’s Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday.

“We are talking to all interested parties who responded to see how we can take those views into account and come up with something practical.”

The focus is on whether “sensible adjustments” can be made, but no decision has been taken, Bailey said.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Catherine Evans

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