LSE's notices monopoly under review

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday announced plans for a review of the way publicly quoted companies disseminate price-sensitive information. The changes could include the scrapping of the Regulatory News Service, with news issued via company web sites or news wire services such as Reuters and Bloomberg.

The review has been commissioned in the light of the proposed transfer of the UK Listing Authority function from the London Stock Exchange to the Financial Services Authority. This has been made necessary by the London Stock Exchange's decision to demutualise and transform itself into a commercial organisation.

Melanie Johnson, the Economic Secretary, said that other than for a short transitional period following the transfer, the listing rules would no longer require companies to submit announcements to the Exchange's company announcements office for distribution by RNS.

In response to a Parliamentary Question, Ms Johnson said: "Listed companies are required under the Listing Rules to submit announcements to the Exchange's Company Announcements Office for distribution to the public through the RNS. Although the Listing Rules do allow for simultaneous notification of announcements to other news organisations, we consider it would be inappropriate to retain this requirement other than for a transitional period when, subject to Parliament approving the necessary legislation, the FSA becomes the Competent Authority for listing.

"I have therefore asked the FSA to undertake a review of the arrangements for the dissemination of price-sensitive information by listed companies and to come forward with amendments to the current Listing Rules requirements in this area. The FSA will be launching a consultation exercise with interested parties to devise alternative arrangements."