​Going public: UK companies’ use of capital markets

Quarterly Bulletin 2011 Q4
Published on 19 December 2011

By Aashish Pattani and Giuseppe Vera of the Bank’s Macro Financial Analysis Division and James Wackett of the Bank’s Foreign Exchange Division.

Public capital markets play an important role in financing the activities of non-financial companies in the United Kingdom, providing them with the main alternative to bank loans and private sources of finance.  Although a small number of UK companies issue public bonds and equity, those that do account for a relatively large share of domestic investment and employment.  Since the start of the financial crisis in 2007, bond and equity issuance has allowed some large companies to dampen the impact of the contraction in bank lending and the worsening economic outlook on investment and hiring.  This suggests that there may be macroeconomic benefits to broadening access to public capital markets.  The Bank has helped support primary corporate bond issuance at times of impaired secondary market functioning since 2009 through its Corporate Bond Secondary Market Scheme.

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