Jewellery retailer Signet has recommended to shareholders that it move to the New York Stock Exchange and relocate the company to Bermuda.

The board of the world’s largest jewellery retailer, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange at present, said in an announcement today that the proposal is the “natural next step in the evolution of Signet’s shareholder base, which has seen a steady growth in US ownership since 2003”. Almost half of Signet’s voting securities are owned by US residents now.

The retailer will be known as Signet Jewelers following the shift.

More than 70 per cent of Signet’s sales, operating profit and net assets are in the US. The retailer said it remains “fully committed to enhancing its strong presence in the UK speciality jewellery market” and will apply for a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange when it begins trading in New York.

Because of the move, Signet’s parent company is no longer allowed to remain domiciled in the UK and has decided to relocate to Bermuda, where it will avoid the adverse tax constraints it would experience in the US.

The proposal is subject to a general meeting and court meeting to be held on or about August 19. If approved, the change in listing is expected to be completed on or about September 11.

Signet chairman Sir Malcolm Williamson said: “The proposal will align the place of primary listing with the group's business activities, which are predominantly based in the US and where the board expects the majority of its future growth to take place.”