By Daniel Lanyon on Monday 31 January 2022
2021 was a bumper year of public debuts by tech companies with the likes of LendInvest, Wise and PensionBee all listing on the London market.
The founders of some of the UK’s largest privately-owned fintech businesses are the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today to for reforms aimed at encouraging more tech firms to list on the London market.
Founders from Checkout.com, Bought by Many and Oaknorth were set to conduct a face to face meeting with the PM alongside digital minister Chris Philp and economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen. At the last minute, however, reports have come through that Johnson will not attend the meeting owing to the imminent publication of the Sue Gray report into breaches of lockdown rules at Number 10.
In particular, founders want to make the case for the recommendations brought about by the publication of Lord Hill’s UK Listings Review in March 2021.
Its aim was to make listings more ‘founder friendly’ to make London more attractive for tech IPOs and included proposals such as dual-class share structures, lower free float requirements and a streamlining of prospectus requirements.
With market turmoil underway in public markets at the start of 2022, owing to inflation concerns, a number of commentators have been concerned that tech valuations could remain depressed throughout the year. This, they argue, could put off highly valued tech firms from going public.
Digital Minister Chris Philp said: “2021 was a brilliant year for UK tech and it’s great to see just how many companies have grown from startup to scale-up, to finally becoming publicly-listed businesses on the London markets."
“Global investors hold London’s capital markets in high esteem and as we implement clear governance around innovative fast-growth companies, including rules around AI and data, we believe even more companies will appreciate the advantages that listing in London can give them.”
In total there were 37 tech IPOs in the UK, nearly 30 per cent of all IPOs. The capital raised by tech and consumer internet companies reached £6.6bn last year, double 2020’s figures of £3.1 bn when there were just 8 tech IPOs.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen says the Government is working with firms, the regulators and the stock market to make the UK even more attractive for companies to list alongside broader capital markets reforms.
“Our markets are some of the world's most international and diverse, and provide companies of all sizes with deep, mobile pools of liquid capital to fund and grow their businesses. This focus is why 2021 was such a great year for IPOs in the UK, especially in the tech and financial services sectors. The work does not stop here and we will continue to support the UK’s cutting-edge tech sector by making our markets even more attractive,” he said.
This story has been updated following reports of a last-minute cancellation of the attendance of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the meeting set between himself and a number of tech leaders.