On Tuesday November 15th the Nordic Growth Market (NGM) announced that they have started offering Finnish companies the possibility of listing their shares on NGM’s lists. The NGM will provide to Finnish companies the same lists they currently do for Swedish ones: NGM Equity (regulated list, an alternative to the Nasdaq Helsinki main market), Nordic MTF (an unregulated list, an alternative to the Nasdaq First North) and the Nordic Pre Market (platform for unlisted companies).
Based on NGM’s press conference, I feel we see eye-to-eye in many things. For instance, we agree that SMEs are the future. There will be no new Nokia coming to save Finland’s economy, instead SMEs are the driver of growth. Another point that we agree on is that listing shouldn’t only be for big companies. The Swedish model of listing relatively early is something Finnish companies would do well to adopt. I was also happy to hear of NGM’s focus on retail investors who should receive equal treatment with institutional investors.
The entry of NGM into Finland means that companies looking to list will be able to choose between Nasdaq and NGM. Competition is always good, because ultimately it’s the customer who benefits. Hopefully more options will translate into increased activity, as more IPOs means more potential exits for investors.
Towards a crowdfunding marketplace
Equity crowdfunding platforms are used by companies from the startup phase to IPO and beyond, and crowdfunding is increasingly starting to be viewed as fundraising technology that can work regardless of the size or development phase of the company.
However, one thing sorely lacking is a functioning marketplace for crowdfunded companies. For crowdfunding to continue to grow, investors must see exit opportunities. For exits to be possible, there needs to be buyers, ie liquidity. While a crowdfunding aftermarket has been deemed a priority by many industry parties, the issue is always liquidity.
The services that NGM brings to the Finnish market alleviate this problem firstly by growing the number of alternatives companies have. The pre-market for unlisted companies, the MTF for intermediate listings and the regulated Equity list for bigger companies provide a logical alternative path for crowdfunded companies to follow if they so choose. Secondly, due to NGM’s cross-border approach to its lists and its hybrid trading model, which involves both technology and human traders, it seems that NGM might be well positioned to start solving the liquidity issue.
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