Commission consults on building a proportionate regulatory environment to support SME listing

The European Commission has published a consultation on building a proportionate regulatory environment to support SME listing. The Commission statement invites all citizens and organisations to contribute to this consultation. Views are welcome, in particular, from Member States, national competent authorities and ESMA, as well as market participants such as SMEs (listed SMEs and those seeking a listing), stock exchanges, institutional investors, consumer and investor organisations, brokers specialised in SMEs, key advisers that support SMEs through the IPO stage and other services providers specialised in SMEs.

Objective of the consultation

Facilitating access to finance for SMEs through all their development stages is a key element of the Commission’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) initiative. The CMU Mid-term Review published in June 2017 raised the project’s level of ambition and strengthened its focus on capital-raising by SMEs on public markets. The Commission notably committed to assessing whether targeted amendments to EU rules could deliver a more conducive regulatory environment to support SME initial public offerings. The consultation will help the Commission identify ways to cut red tape and build a supportive environment for SMEs wanting to list their shares or bonds on SME Growth Markets, without jeopardising investor protection and market integrity. The public consultation will focus on three broad categories of issues. It will seek to identify how the ‘SME Growth Market’ concept, created by MiFID II, can be further improved (1.). The aim of the consultation is also to identify areas where the administrative burden placed on listed SMEs can be lightened (2) and where some targeted regulatory changes could help (re)build the local ecosystems surrounding SME-dedicated exchanges (3).

Reason why the consultation period is less than 12 weeks

The issues consulted on in relation to the operation of the regulatory barriers to SME listing are mostly well known to stakeholders. They have been the subject of sustained dialogue with both industry stakeholders and Member States. Issues relating to SME listing have also come up in responses to the Green Paper on Building a Capital Markets Union, to the call for evidence on the EU regulatory framework for financial services, and the CMU Mid-term review public consultation. This public consultation is therefore rather focussed and for that reason a ten weeks timeframe is foreseen and open until 26 February 2018.