He adds: “We don’t need to make lots of sweeping changes, we just need to make sure that we don’t fall behind or make things worse.”
However, he thinks attracting and retaining tech giants will continue to be a difficult task due to “much, much deeper liquidity”, higher valuations and more specialism in the US. “That’s something the whole of Europe has struggled to keep up with and I don’t think there’s a silver bullet to cure that.”
Carlton Nelson, co-head of Investec’s corporate broking business, says over the last six months, there has been a notable increase in the number of companies coming to the bank with plans to float across a wide range of sectors. And he has had discussions with some firms looking to go public in two to three years time.
But, similarly, Nelson does not think London’s listing rules are in need of a major overhaul. He says the due diligence carried out before companies list in London is “comprehensive” and he would be wary of making any changes that could “potentially risk losing the quality of that diligence process… and generate further issues down the line”.
Although a raft of companies are set to go public this year, ultra-low borrowing costs, lower valuations and a raft of take-private offers towards the end of last year also suggest de-equitisation remains a threat.
Panmure’s Anderson says one of the consequences of the crisis could be that debt levels of listed companies come down in the medium term because what used to be an acceptable level of debt might “look a bit racy” post-crisis.
Therefore, it could be easier for private equity firms to pick up assets with strong balance sheets. “Certainly we anticipate more M&A activity and more private equity purchases, but also on the flip side of that, we’re seeing them floating companies as well.”