The government announced on Tuesday that it will no longer require short sellers to disclose their transactions in British companies.
A short position is a bet that the stock price of a company will decline. With this rule change, funds will no longer be required to publicly disclose their individual net short positions on a stock.
While short sellers still need to report their positions to the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the threshold for public disclosure will be raised.
Currently, funds are required to notify the FCA when they have borrowed 0.1% of a company’s outstanding shares to go short. Now, that threshold will be increased to 0.2% of the shares.
The decision is part of an effort to roll back European Union regulations after Brexit and comes as the government is revising its Financial Services and Markets Act.
The rule change will be implemented by the FCA.
Critics argue that short sellers harm companies and worsen market volatility, but short sellers and proponents claim that they serve an important oversight function for public companies.
Jillien Flores, Head of Global Government Affairs at the Managed Funds Association, a lobbying group for hedge funds, stated that Tuesday’s changes should strengthen the competitiveness of the United Kingdom.
She said that the change “would unleash the benefits of short selling, including improving market liquidity, promoting price discovery, and uncovering corporate fraud.”