At Zurich, Switzerland for Europe's IPO Roundtable
I am in Zurich for Europe's IPO Roundtable that is being jointly sponsored by three organizations: FESE (Federation of European Securities Exchanges), European Issuers (the trade group that represents the majority of publicly quoted European issuers) and EVCA (European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association).
There is mounting interest in Europe as to how capital markets can be used to improve access to capital to increase jobs. This is an issue I hope to bring greater attention to in both the U.S. and Europe given that the developed economies may be facing an even bigger job crisis ahead: The exponential growth in computer processing speed and storage is creating a foundation for massive disruptions to the service sector through the emergence of AI (artificial intelligence) and manufacturing through the emergence of robotics. This is a topic that I will briefly touch on at the conference (see agenda).
FESE just released a "Blueprint to Boost European Economic Growth". In it, FESE writes that, "Europe needs to act now to enhance the ability of its IPO markets to finance growing and dynamic companies. Structural constraints - above all the disappearance of the local ecosystems - are holding back IPOs around the world, which is producing only a third of the IPOs it generated per year in the 1990s." - Sound familiar? This is the same plight that has afflicted US markets and which we are attempting to fix in the U.S. through the JOBS Act and an SEC-sponsored pilot to increase "tick sizes" (the smallest increment in which stocks are quoted). We have fallen far. We have a long way to go. We will need more legislation and improved capital formation technologies from companies like IssuWorks to claw our way back.
Founder & CEO