Investors with minority holdings in London-listed companies have been empowered by a new set of rules from the City regulator.
The Financial Conduct Authority said businesses with controlling shareholders – those holding 30 per cent or more of a company's shares – must ensure they are run independently to hold on to their premium listings. The rules come in the wake of controversy over overseas listings such as the Kazakh miner ENRC, whose shareholder register is dominated by its oligarch founders.
The new guidelines will give smaller shareholders vetoes in areas such as the appointment of independent directors or where controlling shareholders try to take a company private. The FCA says it hopes to introduce the new package of measures in mid-2014 despite criticism in some quarters.
Roger Barker, of the Institute of Directors, said: "Some of the world's most successful firms – Microsoft, Amazon, Google and BMW – have large, individual shareholders. It remains to be seen whether, by singling out one type of company ownership for extra rules, the FCA will discourage these companies from listing in London."