Opinion: It’s not corporates’ fault they’re not going public

Author: IFLR Correspondent | Published: 8 Aug 2019

The process of de-equitisation – the decline in the amount of equity in issue across western stock markets – has accelerated since the financial crisis. The number of US-domiciled listed companies has fallen from around 7,000 in 1999 to around 4,000 today. In the same period, the number of Main Market companies in London has halved from around 1,900. Many have warned that the big losers in this are ordinary retail investors, but a story is being told that it is public companies themselves that are a problem, rather than a key part of the solution both to this and other challenges.

In markets like the UK, retail investors remain stubbornly overweight in domestic stocks, and the smaller pool of listed companies therefore risks less diversified portfolios – which can put retirement plans at risk. At the same time, the delay in companies seeking to come to market means...