London has not lost its lustre for listings, KPMG survey finds

KPMG UK's second survey of ECM leaders finds that London is still a key exchange of choice

KPMG UK's second survey of ECM leaders finds that London is still a key exchange of choice

The majority of European and UK Equity Capital Markets (ECM) leaders believe that large international companies still see London as a destination of choice when considering listing, according to new research from KPMG UK.

When asked where large international companies would consider listing, almost all of the senior ECM leaders surveyed (94%) picked New York, followed closely by London (86%), while half (50%) selected Amsterdam.

Aadam Brown, Head of Independent Equity Capital Markets Advisory at KPMG UK, commented:

“While UK listing activity was muted in 2023 - as was the case across most of Europe – London has not lost its lustre. Our survey shows that alongside New York, London is still considered a key destination of choice for large international companies. When it comes to where to list, it boils down to identifying the natural footprint or home of the company - usually determined by factors such as the location of a company’s headquarters and its largest sales region. For those exploring foreign listing venues beyond their home country, there needs to be a strong rationale.”

The survey also found that 91% of ECM leaders expect the UK IPO market to return to normal activity levels in 2025, while two thirds believe that IPOs issued in the EMEA region in 2024 will be led by the Middle East, followed by Germany.

“The challenges that have persisted, both economically and geopolitically, have slowed down the UK and European IPO market recovery. While expectations were initially that activity would pick up in the second half of 2023, recovery is now anticipated towards the end of 2024 and into 2025. This, however, could be accelerated by a few successful IPOs.

“It takes time to prepare for an IPO, so businesses will be thinking carefully about their options and getting ready now. Current market conditions should not deter companies from preparing, as history tells us IPO markets can open quickly off the back of positive sentiment,” Aadam explained.

State of UK equity markets

It is no secret that a challenging economic environment has contributed to the persistent fund outflows from the UK equity market, which has affected UK IPO activity these past few years.

“Fund flows out of UK equities was the standout answer to why UK equity markets were not operating efficiently, especially in the context of UK IPO activity. While some of this de-equitisation has been many years in the making, some of it can be reversed with a better economic backdrop and positive sentiment.

“Several of the leaders we surveyed were reflecting on the increased number of take privates recently. Combined with the fact that funds have started to slowly flow back into the market again, this could provide fund managers with the impetus to put capital to work in a recovering IPO market.” Aadam added.

Over the past year, several developments have taken place in the UK to try and improve the attractiveness of IPOs, including listing rules reform. However, the majority (78%) of ECM leaders identified pension reform as the most important action that needs to be taken, followed by ISA reform. Remuneration of management is also another key factor that respondents say needs to be addressed.

Aadam concluded: “While ECM leaders were slightly more conservative on predicting a return to normalised UK IPO market conditions in this year’s survey, it does feel like we are heading to an inflection point. Better market sentiment and investor appetite will begin to shine through. It only takes a few successful IPOs of high-quality companies to turn markets around, and there is every reason to believe this inflection point will occur in 2024.”

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Research methodology:

KPMG Independent Equity Capital Markets (ECM) Advisory’s Survey of UK ECM leaders was conducted during November and December 2023, exploring topics such as the UK IPO market recovery, key future expected themes in IPO markets and reflections on the IPO process. Participants included 32 UK and European ECM leaders across the large US and European Investment Banks, through to the UK Small and Midcap Brokers.

For further information please contact:

Jo Chileshe, KPMG Corporate Communications


M: 07919 211803


KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 20 offices across the UK with approximately 17,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.72 billion in the year ended 30 September 2022. 

KPMG is a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Legal, Tax and Advisory services. It operates in 143 countries and territories with more than 265,000 partners and employees working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.