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London wins just second listing of the year amid stock market exodus fears

The logo of London Stock Exchange Group Plc in the office atrium in the City of London, UK - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg
The logo of London Stock Exchange Group Plc in the office atrium in the City of London, UK - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

An Australian finance company is gearing up for a £200m London listing in a boost for the City’s beleaguered stock market.

Prism Global, a financial infrastructure group, is poised to become just the second main market listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) this year amid fears that the Square Mile is losing its status as a key global financial centre.

The company is working with lawyers at Baker Mckenzie on a direct listing that is expected to value the business at around £195m, City sources said.

The float, which is set to take place in April, represents a rare vote of confidence in the LSE, which is fighting to remain relevant after an exodus of companies leaving for the New York stock exchange in recent months.

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Building materials giant CRH became the latest company to flee the London stock market in March, while British technology darling Arm has also snubbed the City for its listing.

Earlier this week, Nikhil Rathi, head of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said the regulator will review London’s listing rules in an effort to make the market more attractive.

Prism Global was founded in Australia in 2018 and builds market infrastructure that allows investors to split securities into separately tradeable financial products.

The company opened a London office last year as part of a move to shift its headquarters to the UK.

It is understood Prism will seek a standard listing on the LSE’s main market rather than a gold-plated premium one and the company will not raise any new capital as part of the float.

Last month, Dar Global, a Saudi real estate business, became the first company this year to list on the LSE’s main market, ending a prolonged drought.

However, London is continuing to lag rivals significantly, with more than 30 companies listing in the US between January and March and 70 in China, according to data from EY.

Alev Dover, Prism Global's chief executive, and a former JP Morgan and Citigroup banker, said: “Prism Global represents a new perspective for equity markets, having developed the financial infrastructure to allow the price of an underlying asset to be separated into its individual components of growth, dividend and risk.

“As a new company, we chose London as the location to list the company ahead of the launch of our products globally.

“In 2022, we opened a London office to… provide access to a wide and experienced pool of market participants and help facilitate the recruitment of market professionals as the business grows.”

Separately, mergers and acquisition activity involving UK companies has slumped to a decade-low, according to new data from Refinitiv.

During the first quarter of 2023, M&A deals with any UK involvement totalled just $47bn (£38bn), 60pc lower than the same period last year and the lowest first quarter total since 2013.

A top City fund manager also warned this week that the Square Mile has become a “backwater” of global stock markets.

Nick Train, co-founder of £18bn investment firm Lindsell Train, told the Financial Times it was understandable that UK pension funds have backed promising global stocks rather than UK-listed companies owing to London's "dismal capital performance".