U.K. Markets Watchdog Hands More Power to Minority Shareholders

The U.K.’s markets watchdog said it would give minority shareholders additional voting rights and greater influence as part of new listing rules.

The changes allow for smaller shareholders to challenge majority owners and increase transparency for listed companies, the Financial Conduct Authority said in a statement today. Independent directors on company boards will need separate approval from minority shareholders, it said.

The rules are being introduced after disputes between owners and other stakeholders at businesses listed in London and controlled by wealthy foreigners, including Kazakhstan’s Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. and Indonesian miner Bumi Plc. IPO volumes in the U.K. have nearly tripled so far this year, compared with the same period in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“These changes will promote market integrity and empower minority shareholders to hold the companies they invest in to account,” David Lawton, the FCA’s director of markets, said in the statement.

The FCA’s predecessor began consulting with market participants about altering the listing regime in October 2012. The changes will be implemented next year, it said.

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