Thursday 27th October 2016

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Posts tagged ‘TMX Group Inc (X)’

Venture “revitalization” to continue as John McCoach announces retirement

April 26th, 2016

by Greg Klein | April 26, 2016

John McCoach leaves the TSXV helm at year-end, the TMX Group TSX:X announced April 26. Until then he’ll continue with the Revitalizing TSXV program and “will help ensure an efficient, seamless leadership transition for the company and our clients,” the exchange stated.

McCoach joined the organization in 2003, spending the last six years as Venture president. TMX has yet to choose a successor.

TSX Venture “revitalization” continues as John McCoach announces retirement

The TMX broadcast centre.
(Photo: TMX Group)

Late last year McCoach outlined a three-part program to cut the Venture’s administrative and compliance costs, increase its investor base and liquidity, and recruit new listings from a broader range of sectors. Following publication of a white paper, the Venture presented town hall meetings across Canada.

McCoach appeared unflappable as he countered criticism from a loud, sometimes angry minority at the Vancouver event. A progress report issued last month noted that feedback prompted some adjustments to the program, notably to find time- and money-saving efficiencies in filing procedures and to address market structure and short-selling rules. “These matters were not among the initiatives outlined in the white paper as they are not within the exchange’s scope and authority, but we commit to working with regulators and the trading community to influence discussions,” the report stated.

But the Venture rejected calls for greater vigilance against “zombie” companies. The decision “has been validated in the vast majority of our conversations with the community,” according to the report. “We will continue to monitor listed companies to ensure they meet continued listing requirements and in cases where they do not, the exchange will work with the listed company on an appropriate course of action.”

McCoach told the Vancouver audience that demotion to the NEX board depends on additional factors besides negative working capital, the key definition of a zombie.

Nevertheless Seguro Consulting president Tony Simon last week released an update to his previous list of zombies. As reported by Jeff Desjardins of Visual Capitalist, 669 Canadian mining stocks (52%) listed on the TSX and TSXV meet Simon’s zombie designation, up from 589 and 40% last year.

Related reading:

The VSE reborn: Juniors, brokers, promoters desert Toronto to revive the Vancouver Stock Exchange

The Venture gets an earful

January 29th, 2016

Anger, frustration ring out as the TSXV town hall hits Vancouver

by Greg Klein

Anger, frustration ring out as the TSXV town hall hits Vancouver

A sometimes raucous group of well over 300 people sounded off about the market malaise.


The interruptions began during John McCoach’s introduction and continued throughout his presentation. The president of the TSX Venture Exchange said he wanted dialogue and that’s what he got on January 28, when his travelling town hall meeting came to the world’s capital of struggling juniors. Facing him were well over 300 people representing the small cap “ecosystem” of management, brokers, investors, advisers, accountants, lawyers, regulators and others. It was the biggest, most boisterous event of the tour so far, McCoach said.

What it accomplished remains to be seen. McCoach tried to outline last December’s white paper, with its three-part plan to revitalize the Venture. That entails a program to cut issuers’ costs, build the Venture’s investor base and expand the exchange with non-resource stocks. Unimpressed audience members stuck to their grievances, sometimes shouting over each other. Fees and over-regulation were the sorest points, while short-selling, management compensation and high-frequency trading also came up.

Anger, frustration ring out as the TSXV town hall hits Vancouver

TSXV president John McCoach faced a tough
crowd at the Vancouver town hall meeting.

As McCoach went through his seven-step cost-cutting program, one audience member complained that “when things really became tougher was when the TSX became a for-profit organization.”

“Exactly!” piped up another voice.

Saying he used to serve on the board of a mutual, McCoach responded, “We are all far better off with an exchange operating as an efficient business.”

As a number of people vied for attention, one especially loud voice called out: “You tell us you are reducing costs yet you’re not reducing your fee schedule. So it appears to me that you’re trying to reduce external costs but you’re trying to maintain your bureaucracy and your job by not reducing the fees that go to the TMX.”

“We’re trying to reduce overall costs,” McCoach replied.

“If so, why not reduce your own fees?”

“… if we’re going to reduce our revenue by half, we have to look at other ways to get that same revenue…”

The tumult exploded again, drowning him out.

Not just fees, but procedures came under fire. “You’ve made it so difficult for the public to participate,” one audience member charged. “You can buy a $10-million house on two signatures and you can’t buy five grand worth of stock…”

Among other concerns was short-trading, but audience members disagreed on the issue. McCoach said only a minority of people interviewed during pre-white paper consultations complained about shorting.

Zombies were another audience-introduced topic. The Venture’s new plan would encourage NEX board lurkers to reactivate, while creating more stringent requirements for those that would remain on NEX. But over shouted denials, McCoach insisted the Venture enforces its existing continued listing requirements. “That’s a bald-face lie!” came one retort.

“One hundred and fourteen companies went from TSX Venture to NEX last year,” McCoach replied.

But, according to some critics, the number should have been 600. That’s the figure provided by Tony Simon of the Venture Capital Markets Association in his list of TSXV companies with negative working capital. McCoach countered that a NEX designation depends on additional factors.

Having deflected several criticisms by saying they’re matters for IIROC or the securities commissions, McCoach said, “The regulators are listening very carefully. Some of them are here today.” He added that the Venture has been lobbying them for additional prospectus exemptions and a revamped rights offering program.

It appears to me that you’re trying to reduce external costs but you’re trying to maintain your bureaucracy and your job by not reducing the fees that go to the TMX.

Not everyone saw the Venture as the root of all evil. “Your hands are tied in a lot of ways by securities law,” said one attendee. As for the regulators, “they should be up here too.”

“I don’t blame you for ISIS … I don’t blame you for the Montreal Canadiens power play,” commented a visitor from Val-d’Or. But he did hold the TSXV accountable for failing to curtail costs and listen to its issuers.

A white paper focus that got little attention, however, was the plan to aggressively attract more high-tech, clean energy and life sciences stocks. “It was a judgement call on the stage to interact with the crowd as opposed to continuing to discuss that topic,” McCoach told following the event.

The initiative comes as the TMX Group’s (TSX:X) own stock fairs poorly, especially when compared with that of the LSE, whose proposed merger with Toronto was defeated in 2011 by a group of Canadian banks and pension funds. There’s also speculation that Nasdaq might invade Canada after acquiring the Chi-X Canada alternative trading system, a deal that’s expected to close early this year. The CSE reported a record year for listings and trading volume while last year’s newcomer, Aequitas Neo, announced its first listing application the day of the Vancouver meeting.

But the Venture’s white paper was motivated “simply by what we’ve heard today, what we can do to help our clients,” insists McCoach.

Past changes in policies and procedures were “never packaged together and rolled out as something we’re doing all at once,” he explained. “It’s important that the market be aware that we’re doing this. So we’ve decided to pull all these initiatives together, even though they’ll have different timelines, and use that as an opportunity to gather this kind of feedback.”

“It didn’t surprise me that people were anxious to see change,” McCoach added. He plans to “digest” the day’s comments and compare them with feedback from the other meetings. Vancouver was the fourth stop on the tour, with several other cities planned into February.

Read more about plans to revitalize the TSX Venture.

TSX Venture to streamline procedures, broaden non-natural resource base

December 17th, 2015

by Greg Klein | December 17, 2015

In the name of diversity, the TSX Venture wants more listings from technology, clean tech, renewable energy and life sciences. Following consultation with hundreds of stakeholders, the TMX Group TSX:X released a white paper December 17 outlining plans to streamline the regulatory process and welcome companies from a wider group of sectors. But it’s not neglecting its traditional clientele, according to the statement. “No other exchange in the world better serves early-stage natural resource companies and that will not change.”

TSX Venture to streamline procedures, broaden non-natural resource base

Photo: Halava/Wikimedia Commons

The Venture lists almost 500 non-natural resource companies already.

Three areas of priority include cutting administrative and compliance costs, increasing the investor base and liquidity, and diversifying the types of sectors “to increase the attractiveness of the marketplace.”

Among other plans, TMX will hire a sales team to woo early-stage companies across Canada and the U.S.

Some regulatory reforms would include eliminating the sponsorship requirement, which the group says could save companies between $50,000 and $100,000, as well as months of time. Also on the chopping block would be the need for shareholder approval when inactive companies propose arms-length transactions, another potential saving of $20,000 to $50,000 and months of time.

Next year the Venture intends to promote over 100 listings to fund managers, investment bankers and research analysts, and to encourage ETFs to pick up TSXV companies. American investors should find the exchange more user-friendly.

Companies languishing on the NEX board will get “additional tools” to redeem themselves, while the exchange also intends to impose stricter criteria on remaining NEX companies. Capital pool requirements will become more flexible.

Encouraging stakeholders to “continue the conversation,” the group created a new website and Twitter presence: @TMXGroup #revitalizingTSXV

Although the announcement follows months of consultation, Bloomberg noted it came just nine days after Nasdaq agreed to buy Chi-X Canada, which “handles roughly an eighth of the country’s stock trading.” TMX shares then fell about 18%, the news agency reported.

Read the white paper: Revitalizing TSX Venture Exchange.