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One Year of Progress: Reflecting on “The Promise of Market Reform"

Revitalize Progress Reform of Reg 2018

Since Nasdaq’s founding in 1971, our mission has been to build markets that allow great businesses and entrepreneurs to flourish, create jobs, and ignite a permanent cycle of economic growth.

Our focus on creating the markets of tomorrow endures today. We know that U.S. markets and our economy are healthier than a decade ago. We also know that there is more work to be done to ensure that this increased strength is sustainable for the long term.

In 2017, we set out to answer this lingering question: How can American capital markets be revitalized for the next era of growth? Our study, “The Promise of Market Reform: Reigniting America’s Economic Engine ”, addressed structural concerns about public markets in three categories: overly complex regulations that disincentivize market participation; a one-size-fits-all market structure that deprives some companies of the benefits they need to participate and succeed in public markets; and a culture in the investment community (and in the mainstream media) that creates an imbalance between the value of long-term return and short-term potential.

In 2017, we laid out a detailed action plan —our blueprint for revitalizing the U.S. capital markets—and called for specific engagement on these issues. We then enlisted the support of partners both in the listings world and in the regulatory realm, resolving to join together, roll up our sleeves and get to work on smoothing out the structural inefficiencies in our public markets.

One year later, we can report significant progress on many of our proposed reforms. Nasdaq has testified before the U.S. Congress and signed public letters to legislative leaders , presented issues to the U.S. Treasury Department , worked with broad coalitions of new and longstanding stakeholders, and engaged robustly with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its chairman.

Many of these efforts have resulted in tangible and beneficial change. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the “ Corporate Governance Reform and Transparency Act ,” addressing conflicts of interest and lack of transparency commonly practiced by proxy advisory firms. Congress is now poised to consider legislation that would make the quarterly filing process more efficient and less burdensome for public companies. In April 2018, we participated in an SEC roundtable to discuss market structure for thinly traded securities, following which we submitted an application for a rule change that would ease the pressures of fragmented trading. In addition, Nasdaq has helped build a coalition with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to support legislation to reform short-sale disclosure, which we hope Congress will address in the coming year.

We are encouraged by the progress on these issues, as well as the movement towards appropriate changes to capital markets in the United States. But we are also aware that considerable work remains. The future of U.S. capital markets—the world’s greatest engine for growth, opportunity, and wealth creation—depends on stakeholders’ perseverance on key issues of market structure and regulation. To ensure a prosperous economic future, the work begun in 2017 must continue. Together, we can remove the regulatory and political obstacles that stand in the way of a better, more efficient market.

We are more confident than ever that by working together, we can build capital markets that work better for the investing public and innovative entrepreneurs. The evidence after one year is encouraging and we will continue our quest for more robust, efficient, and transparent markets.

To learn more about Nasdaq’s progress for advancing capital markets reform and to show your support, visit

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.