Interest from SMEs in enjoying the unique benefits of public capital markets has been on the rise for a number of years. Venture-capital investments alone have increased fivefold in Switzerland over the past decade1, enabling more entrepreneurs to test and develop their product and service ideas with a view to growing their businesses. The broader impact of such investment growth has been a rise in the number of SMEs that have matured to the point of taking the next step in their development to go public.
Sparks, a dedicated new equity segment on the Swiss stock exchange, will provide a key piece in addressing this need of SMEs and their investors for a dedicated, tailored, regulated exchange venue. SMEs that list on Sparks benefit from all the well-known advantages of being a listed company on the Swiss stock exchange, while gaining from the additional advantages of efficient access to capital, enhanced visibility, stronger, more relevant peer groups and more effective price formation and best execution for their investors. In establishing and growing a well-functioning ecosystem for raising public capital the continual and concerted efforts of the broader Swiss financial centre will also be very important.
According to Valeria Ceccarelli, Head Primary Markets, SIX Swiss Exchange, “SMEs in Switzerland – as in many countries – are a powerful economic engine. Our challenge has been to ensure that we can offer entrepreneurs a platform that can help them access capital, enhance their visibility, strengthen their credibility, and provide the levels of transparency and scrutiny that maximize investor interest. With Sparks, we will be able to achieve the right balance of all of these elements as well as to contribute meaningfully to the growth of SMEs and, more broadly, to that of the Swiss economy.”
Sparks follows services such as Stage, which helps SMEs to improve their visibility with investors and capital market participants through independent research coverage and Bridge, which connects issuers with potential investors.