Democratization of the
FEATURING: S. MARK FRANCIS, CIM
Western Canada has more public companies per capita than any other part of the world. Making capital markets more democratic – markets where all individuals have more equal access and the playing field in terms of regulation and taxation is more level – have historically resulted in stronger economies and greater socio-economic balance and cohesion. This has certainly been the case in Alberta, as a large number of Albertans have participated in providing risk capital to business development.
Over the last 70 years regulation of the capital markets has steadily increased. The initial regulations, such as requiring reporting of insider trading, were low cost and provided great benefit to minority shareholders, increasing confidence in the capital markets and improving markets for all participants. In parallel, participation by the general population in ownership of the economy has broadened. Recently, however, uneven tax treatment and ill-targeted market regulation have tilted the playing field in favour of government employee pension plans and big capital against democratic participation. In addition, recent securities regulations and laws may have gone past the point of providing net value to minority shareholders relative to the additional costs borne by their chosen investee companies.
In the last few years the number of Alberta-based listed companies has actually fallen, and many of the exciting deals have been kept private. Will Democratic Capitalism slowly erode in Alberta, and what must be done to ensure it doesn’t?
S. Mark Francis, CIM
Mark Francis is a business consultant, whose current and primary engagement is with CNSX, Canada’s New Stock Exchange for small-cap issuers, as an advisor in Western Canada. His previous engagements have included business and feasibility studies for both new and existing companies and projects, market studies for a multinational, multimodal transportation company, advisory role to the Winnipeg Stock Exchange, and other consulting and advisory roles in a range of industries. Mark has prior experience both in the investment industry including several years as an Investment Advisor, and also in Government as a program review and business analyst with the Province of Manitoba. He is also President of a pre-public mineral exploration company, runs 2 boutique investment conferences, and has interests in other entrepreneurial projects. He has earned the Canadian Investment Manager designation.
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The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views
or policies of CFA Society Calgary, its Board of Directors or its
members. CFA Society Calgary does not guarantee the source, originality,
accuracy, completeness or reliability of any statement, information, data,
finding, interpretation, advice, opinion, or view presented, nor does it
make any representation concerning the same.