The UK’s financial watchdog has opened the door to listings by cannabis companies by setting out how it would navigate laws to prevent pocketing proceeds from criminal use of the drug. 

The Financial Conduct Authority set out its approach to cannabis-related companies interested in a UK listing, pending public consultation on more formal guidance in due course. 

The legalisation of cannabis, including for recreational use in Canada and several US states, fuelled a speculative “green rush” on Toronto and New York stock markets last year. Analysts are expecting some listings in Europe in 2020.

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The FCA said that while medical cannabis was legalised in Britain in 2018, investment in overseas licensed medical cannabis companies remains a legally complex area with a risk of triggering a broadly-defined UK law that prevents financial gain from criminal activity. Proceeds from recreational cannabis companies, even when located in countries that have legalised it, are proceeds of crime under the law. 

“UK-based medical cannabis companies can be admitted to the Official List, if the company has the appropriate Home Office licences for their activities where they are required,” the FCA said. It added that overseas medical cannabis companies and cannabis oil companies could list in the UK if the proceeds of crime law does not apply, and they meet listing criteria. 

Nearly five million British jobs remained fully or partially on furlough at the end of July, down from a peak of just under nine million but still leaving many with uncertainty as the Government’s job support scheme is due to be wound up at the end of next month. 

Provisional tax data released today shows employers had registered 4.8 million jobs as furloughed as of July 31, compared to 8.9 million in early May. The Government said the provisional data could show an upward revision in the region of 10%, making it likely that 5.3 million people were furloughed at the end of July. 

The 4.8 million jobs registered as furloughed included 950,000 where staff are now back working part-time, but at less than their usual hours. More than 40% of staff in the hospitality are still furloughed, but only a small fraction of those in sectors such as finance or IT, where it is easier to work from home.

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Less comprehensive but more timely survey data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that the number of furloughed workers continued to fall through August, but remained high. The Resolution Foundation think tank estimated, based on ONS data, that about 3 million people were furloughed at the end of August. 

Three women, two of them from Africa, have advanced to the second round of selection to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 

The Geneva-based WTO is looking for a successor to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August. The 25-year-old trade body has never had a leader who is female or from Africa.

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The five going through to the next round are Kenyan minister Amina Mohamed, former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri and former UK minister Liam Fox. 

Round two, in which the WTO’s 164 members will give their preference from September 24 to October 6, will whittle the candidates down to two. The WTO has said it wants to select a winner by early November.