Jim Armitage: London was never, ever, the right place for ENRC

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The Independent Online

Outlook So the ENRC fiasco was our fault all along.

Of course! Rather than expect that companies on the London Stock Exchange behave themselves like respectable plcs: you know, not buying assets seized in dubious circumstances from other companies by corrupt governments (allegedly). Not selling businesses to relatives of the shareholders (allegedly). Not using company funds to buy horse farms and guesthouses (allegedly).

It was up to us Brits to put them in quarantine for two years before letting them list shares here.

In its chutzpah-off-the-scale declaration yesterday, ENRC, currently facing investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, is half right, but not in the way it thinks.

It's right in that it should never, ever, have been allowed to list here. But should we have to create some sort of holding pen for opaque businesses to clean up their acts? Of course not.

For foreign companies with an interesting past, a main market, FTSE 100 Index share listing is like a Royal Warrant: a guarantee to the world of good, investment-worthy behaviour. As a result, it forces many billions of pounds of pension funds to buy their shares. With those riches come responsibility.

ENRC and others cannot have it both ways. Either live by our rules or find another exchange to list on.

I hear that Lagos is nice this time of year.