Earlier this month, the UK's first so-called "direct listing" of a technology company was announced: London-based money transfer Fintech company Wise intends to go public on the LSE's main market without the traditional route of an IPO process. Although the US has seen direct listings of some high profile companies such as Spotify and Slack, this is a significant move for the UK, whose government has been trying to make its markets more attractive for fast-growing tech businesses. Wise also considered Amsterdam and New York but is reported to have decided on London because of the existing infrastructure to facilitate a direct listing and its access to a global investor base.
Although for a long time the LSE has allowed companies to be “introduced” without raising capital, introductions are usually seen only on demergers or secondary listings. A direct listing can be seen as a specialised form of introduction. Wise would be the first technology company to have a direct listing in the UK and the largest company in over two decades to come to market without being listed elsewhere or separated from a group.