The TSX Venture Exchange has been hammered by a resource bear market and low-cost competition in recent years.
Plummeting commodity prices, risk-averse investors and restrictive financing rules have made it virtually impossible for all but the highest-calibre Venture-listed junior miners to raise money.
Meanwhile, companies looking to save a dollar wherever they can are opting for alternatives including the Canadian Securities Exchange.
The accredited-investor rules - which prevent anybody except insiders, friends and family, and the wealthy from participating in private placements - have come under attack from several quarters, most recently from government MLA Ralph Sultan, who represents West Vancouver-Capilano. Sultan took up the cause of the Venture Capital Markets Association in a speech at the B.C. Legislature (details here).
The message appears to be getting through. A letter went out this morning from TSX Venture Exchange President John McCoach to stakeholders, announcing a "comprehensive suite of improvements" that will be unveiled through a white paper and town-hall meetings in the new year.
Here's the letter, with contact emails at the bottom for those who would like to weigh in directly:
Dear clients and key stakeholders,
In the past few months we have spoken to hundreds of you about the issues impacting Canada's public venture market. We are focused on evolving for the current environment and developing a strong future.
How will we do this?
In response to direct feedback from clients and the Canadian capital markets community, we have developed a comprehensive suite of improvements for the public venture market. We will share our plans through a white paper and town hall meetings where we will address the following:
THE NEED TO CHANGE We will share key takeaways from our discussions with market participants.
TAKING ACTION on the issues with a goal to:
- Significantly reduce the burden to our customers without compromising investor confidence.
- Expand the base of investors financing companies and generally enhance liquidity.
- Diversify and grow the stock list to increase the attractiveness of your marketplace.
IMMEDIATE BENEFITS that can be expected by market participants in the near and longer term.
We would very much like to hear your thoughts as the dialogue continues and after you have read the white paper. Please contact either of us directly or, if you can, attend one of the town-hall meetings. A "save the date" notice for the meetings will be sent to you soon for dates early in the New Year.
We look forward to hearing from you.
TSX Venture Exchange
President and CEO, Global Equity Capital Markets