Daily Mail

UK must fight to halt mining exodus, says City veteran

- By Francesca Washtell

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 £109bn – 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.

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 76pc 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].’

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