LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - Britain’s financial regulator said on Wednesday that it is to consult on changes to its listing rules for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), following a recommendation from a review commissioned by UK finance minister Rishi Sunak.
The Financial Conduct Authority said it will consider introducing a minimum market capitalisation and a redemption option for investors as the UK tries to attract some of these so-called “blank cheque” companies to list in London.
“Our proposals will help to ensure that SPACs operate within a framework of high regulatory standards and oversight”, the regulator said in a statement, adding that the consultation will run for four weeks.
Britain has missed out on the record wave of SPAC listings that have taken place globally, particularly in the United States, where 522 such listings have raised over $300 billion in 2020 and 2021, according to data compiled for Reuters by Refinitiv.
There have only been 10 SPAC listings in Europe in 2020 and 2021, with a total value of about $1.3 billion, and none in London, where the rules are perceived as off-putting. European SPACs have so far chosen to list in Amsterdam or Paris.
As part of a wider drive to attract more tech companies to the London Stock Exchange, a recent review of listing rules by former EU Commissioner Jonathan Hill recommended bringing rules in the UK closer in line to the United States on SPACs.
The review recommended that the UK regulator requires trading to be suspended in the shares of SPACs on announcement of a potential acquisition, and to allow for a shareholder vote and redemption rights.
(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong and Abhinav Ramnarayan; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)