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On 24 June 2024, media sources reported that Shein filed its application with the UK Financial Conduct Authority and China Securities Regulatory Commission for an IPO process on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2024. Immediately following this, law firm Leigh Day filed a case against the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on behalf of the Stop Uyghur Genocide campaign, pressing the FCA to reject Shein’s application based on its poor labour and human rights record.
  • On 24 June 2024, Reuters and other media sources reported that Shein initiated the process for a potential Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).  The reports came from anonymous sources close to Shein. Immediately following this, law firm Leigh Day filed a case with against the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on behalf of the Stop Uyghur Genocide campaign.
  • In order to formally list on the LSE, Shein needs to file its application with the FCA). This reportedly typically takes two months for the FCA to review and decide. Shein also needs to inform the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) about the change in listing venue. The CSRC is a regulatory body that oversees Chinese companies seeking to list on foreign stock exchanges to ensure they meet specific legal and regulatory requirements.
  • If Shein receives approval from both the FCA and the CSRC, it would be able to publicly file its IPO on the LSE. This would initiate a four-week period during which Shein would assess investor interest and determine the final share price (a process known as book building) and provide price estimates to potential investors (price guidance). The shares would then officially be available for trading on the stock exchange.
  • On 26 June 2024, the UK-based Stop Uyghur Genocide campaign, represented by law firm Leigh Day, initiated a legal campaign to the FCA. It calls on the FCA to refuse Shein’s application to list on the LSE stating that
    • The UK is a signatory to ILO Conventions establishing minimum labour standards. Allowing a company in potential breach of these standards to list on a UK stock exchange would be inconsistent with the UK’s obligations.
    • The FCA has a statutory duty to maintain market integrity and protect investors. This includes ensuring fair and transparent operations and safeguarding against unethical practices.
    • If Shein is listed, the LSE would be responsible for oversight of the company and must ensure measures are in place to prevent trading of goods potentially produced with forced labour
    • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) already declined to recommend Shein for listing on US stock exchanges due to concerns about labour practices in its supply chains.
  • Stop Uyghur Genocide indicated it is preparing a detailed submission to the FCA to support its letter. In the meantime, it calls on the FCA to
  • Request further information from Shein regarding the accuracy of its Modern Slavery statement
    • Clarify the measures the FCA believes the LSE has in place to detect and prevent the trading of goods produced in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
    • Refuse Shein’s listing application unless it the FCA is certain that its products are not associated with forced labour

Additional context

  • The legal action from Stop Uyghur Genocide represents a significant escalation of the pushback from NGOs, campaigners and investors that has been growing since reports about Shein’s planned UK IPO began. In June 2024, media reporting indicated that investors and fund managers expressed concerns about the reputational impacts of potential scandals, possible regulatory fines for failure to meet labour and human rights standards, and the past lack of transparency and reporting by Shein on its supply chain. 
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