Cut tax – or Arm won't be last to eye US float, warns Xavier Rolet

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Former boss of London Stock Exchange calls for revamp of investment rules to keep tech stars such as Arm in Britain


The former boss of the London Stock Exchange has called for a revamp of investment rules to keep tech stars such as Arm in Britain. 

Xavier Rolet said successive Chancellors had missed chances to amend punitive taxes deterring fast-growing British gems from floating in the City. 

Rolet, who led the LSE from 2009 to 2017, warned that London would continue to lose valuable firms due to the 0.5 per cent stamp duty when individuals buy shares. 

Warning: Xavier Rolet said successive Chancellors had missed chances to amend punitive taxes deterring fast-growing British gems from floating in the City

Warning: Xavier Rolet said successive Chancellors had missed chances to amend punitive taxes deterring fast-growing British gems from floating in the City

He said: ‘You can’t complain that the Arms of the world are going to list elsewhere, where equity markets are more developed. You need to cure that if you want to have a better chance of keeping these companies here.’ 

SoftBank, the Japanese investment giant that backs Arm, said this month it intended to float the Cambridge-based chipmaker in the US. The shock decision came after a £30billion sale to US giant Nvidia collapsed over competition concerns. 

The Mail on Sunday is campaigning for investors and policy-makers to Back British Tech and convince SoftBank to list Arm in London. 

Rolet, 62, said the Government needed to abolish stamp duty when individuals buy shares to tempt firms to London. He said: ‘In 20 years there’s only one Chancellor that did something about this. George Osborne repealed stamp duty on AIM-listed stocks. We saw overnight a huge increase in retail share trading in these stocks. 

‘UK equities are punished through stamp duty. The cost to the wider economy is far more substantial than what the Treasury collects.’ 

He added that individuals should be able to buy shares when companies float. Typically only large pension funds and professional stock pickers are given access initially, meaning armchair investors miss out on any jump in the share price on the first day of trading.

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