statement from the government: “We want to make the UK the most attractive place for innovative businesses to grow and raise capital.”
Yes, that’s easy to say. And on the face of it, no one would disagree with the sentiment. Do we really mean that?
I don’t think we do. London doesn’t have to convince the world of its allure. London is attractive enough, and if you don’t think so, it’s your choice.
The background is Arm, the chip designer possibly the best British tech company ever (by far).
It was sold to Japan’s SoftBank for nearly £25 billion in 2016, a shame, some think.
Softbank, which failed to sell Arm to Nvidia this year because of competition issues, now wants to re-float the company, possibly on Nasdaq in New York.
The FT told us there was “a huge effort” being made, up to Prime Minister, to convince SoftBank to move to its London operations.
Two things: 1) I hope not really. 2) When they tried to do the same to attract Saudi Aramco in 2017, it didn’t work out and we just seemed a bit desperate.
But we don’t. And anyway, the float failed.
Changing things up for individual companies is seriously bad policy in any case. We have rules for a reason, and they generally serve us well.
The future of the City of London isn’t just about making concessions here and there for a bit of business.
It revolves around being what it has always been; a skilled financial center with well-executed rules that apply equally to everyone.
It would be nice if Arm was listed in London. It’s not a disaster if it doesn’t.