LONDON: Britain's stock market rules could be radically simplified as part of efforts to lure major company listings to London, under detailed plans unveiled by the country's financial watchdog on Tuesday.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed replacing Britain's existing 'premium' and 'standard' listing segments with a single category, as part of a package of reforms designed to simplify the country's listings rulebook.

"We want to encourage more companies to list and grow in the UK, versus other highly competitive international markets," said FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi.

The watchdog began consulting on potential changes to its listing regime in March, and the more detailed proposals will undergo a further round of consultation ending on June 28.

The FCA said a single equity category would remove eligibility requirements that deter newer companies, be more permissive on dual-class share structures, and remove mandatory shareholder votes on transactions such as acquisitions.

While the watchdog said it was committed to maintaining high standards, some experts expressed concerns at the reform push.

"We strongly support the principles behind listing rule reform ... but eroding shareholder rights risks undermining market standards, and this is not the right answer," said Richard Wilson, CEO of trading platform interactive investor.

The FCA said it aimed to make "substantial progress" on the reforms by the end of this year.

"If implemented, London would be able to stand toe to toe with our international competitors," said Jonathan Hill, author of a government-backed review into UK listings published in 2021, which found the number of public companies in the country at the time had fallen 40% since 2008. (Reporting by Iain Withers Editing by Mark Potter)