LSE Chief pushes for big screens outside the HQ to celebrate market success

The London Stock Exchange is planning to install a screen in front of its Square Mile headquarters, to highlight the success stories of the market and to combat pessimism about its future.

Julia Hoggett LSE Chief Executive said that she “campaigned” on Thursday for permission to install a screen in front of the building located at Paternoster Square, just yards away from St Paul’s Cathedral.

Hoggett’s plan is his latest attempt to revive a market that has been hit hard by a global lack of initial public offering in recent years.

Hoggett has been the head of the London Stock Exchange since 2021. She said that she wanted to “celebrate the success” of London-listed firms and ensure they were “visible from the outside”.

Despite the fact that equities are almost exclusively traded electronically, stock exchanges such as Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange still have the option of promoting a company’s IPO to the public in a physical format.

City of London Corporation officials would likely scrutinize any move to install a screen. Hoggett, speaking at an event organized by the Quoted Company Alliance, said that getting approval for the idea would be “not simple”. He did not give any details about what the screen might show.

The City of London has said that it is in discussions with the LSE about the plan.

Nasdaq’s seven-storey Times Square billboard shows opening and closing ceremonies, as well as promoting other milestone moments. The New York Stock Exchange’s downtown rival also hangs banners on the neoclassical façade of its 121 year-old building. Inside, new listings are invited to ring its opening bell.

Stock exchanges that lack an outdoor space can use other photo opportunities. For example, new listings in Hong Kong are given the opportunity to bang a gong to mark the start of their listing. The size of the gong depends on the significance of the IPO.

Hoggett made his comments as Shein, an online fashion retailer valued at $66bn after its latest funding round, considered listing on the LSE. Some UK fund managers have expressed concern over Shein’s ambitions, but also the alleged treatment of its workers. Shein, founded in China, said that it would not tolerate forced labour.

Mark Austin, a lawyer at Latham & Watkins who was involved in efforts to revamp City rules and make the UK a better listing venue, said that those working in the financial industry had “a duty now to speak positively” about these changes.

He said, “It is very important that we create a positive narrative now because I have learned that talking negatively creates an unfounded and unfair negative reality.” “Happily the opposite is true as well: If you speak positively, you create positive reality.”

Hoggett was one of the executives who pushed for the UK government to allow greater risk-taking to stimulate economic activity.

She said that the level of financial risk was a decision made by politicians.

In recent months, the government has taken steps to encourage more risk-taking. Hoggett said that it is important for politicians and the general public to not blame regulators when a company has problems.

“They are in a very difficult situation. . . She said that, “if something goes wrong, [the Treasury select committee] will be called to account.” This is a prominent parliamentary group which scrutinises financial watchdogs.

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