FCA reviews letters from banks on advisers' role in company listings- source

Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's finance industry watchdog is reviewing letters received from bankers regarding the conduct of independent advisers towards company analysts during stock market listings, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

A report in the Sunday Times said that the Financial Conduct Authority was considering launching an inquiry into advisers, following complaints from major banks that they had attempted to influence the views of independent research analysts on the companies they are helping to list.

The source said that the FCA had received letters and was reviewing them in line with normal practise. The FCA had not yet decided whether to launch an investigation, the source said.

Advisers, such as Lazard, Rothschild and STJ Advisors, help to choose banks to handle a stock market listing and the advisers also guide the company that is listing through the process.

Their role has come under the spotlight as the European initial public offerings (IPO) market surges, more than tripling in 2014 against the same period last year according to Thomson Reuters Data.

Bankers said advisers, who are allowed to meet with independent analysts during the listing process, have a level of influence over them which they themselves are not allowed to have. Traditionally advisers provide analysts with information on the company.

(Reporting by Freya Berry. Editing by Alexander Smith and Jane Merriman)

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