City veteran sounds alarm over exodus of mining firms from the London stock market
A leading fund manager has sounded the alarm over an exodus of mining firms from the London stock market.
BHP – one of the largest companies in the UK with a value of £109billion – last month unveiled plans to shift its primary listing to Australia in a move that will see it leave the FTSE 100.
It is feared that rival Rio Tinto could follow suit – dealing a further blow to London.
Mining giant BHP – one of the largest companies in the UK with a value of £109bn – last month unveiled plans to shift its primary listing to Australia, a move that will see it leave the FTSE 100
City veteran and former Aviva fund manager David Cumming said the UK must fight to keep London as a major financial centre.
The 59-year-old, who left Aviva in June amid a shake-up at the group, said BHP’s shareholders should have put up more of a fight.
Cumming said: ‘If I was at Aviva, I would have said something. It’s the biggest mining company in the world, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a bit more resistance to them beetling off to Australia.
‘That’s a big loss to the London market in my view.’
Legal & General was the only significant BHP shareholder to raise an objection to the shift to Australia – saying it was ‘disappointed’. Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Cumming added: ‘We certainly don’t want Rio Tinto to go the same way.
‘You want to keep London as a global financial centre.’
Rio is another Footsie heavyweight miner – but it too has a hefty amount of its business in Australia and a dual listing.
Rio has been under pressure to shift some of its power away from London after it blew up two 46,000-year-old Aboriginal rock shelters last year.
The disaster triggered a boardroom clearout, a parliamentary inquiry and pummelled Rio’s reputation – though it has so far refused to bow to pressure to quit London.
This is in part because 76 per cent of its investors hold shares in the UK-listed firm.
Cumming, who began his career at Royal London Mutual, has previously said: ‘I’d rather have BHP closer to London than Deliveroo [the takeway app].’