On Wednesday, in a significant development, according to a report from The Times, British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak plans on blocking companies from being listed on the London Stock Exchange on national security grounds.
The proposed move will see the Treasury laying out a series of scenarios in which these new powers will be used, including one wherein there is a reasonable suspicion of a hostile foreign state actor trying to deliberately undermine the reputation of the London Stock Exchange. A listing could also be blocked on the grounds of reasonable suspicion that such a listing would potentially help a foreign state gain easy access to state secrets as well as commercial secrets.
The finance ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
The coming weeks will see Sunak launching a consultation on the details of the proposal with MPs.
The development comes in the wake of a foreign affairs parliamentary committee calling on the government to directly block listings, stating that it’s not reasonable for the Financial Conduct Authority to identify and prevent threats to national security.
The proposed move is not directed at any one particular country, including China, said the report.