Canada: TSX-V Provides Update On Revitalization Efforts

The TSX Venture Exchange is engaged in ongoing efforts to revitalize Canada's public venture market and to better meet the needs of the TSX-V's issuers. Although the TSX-V has traditionally served as a catalyst for the growth of early-stage or small-cap companies, activity on Canada's major venture exchange has experienced a significant decrease over the last several years due to various factors, including sluggish capital market conditions and a sustained collapse in commodity prices. In December 2015, the TSX-V issued a white paper outlining an action plan, and in March 2016, the exchange issued a report reaffirming its commitment to implementing the meaningful changes set forth in the white paper and providing an update on the progress made to date. 

What You Need To Know

  • The TSX-V is committed to the following three initiatives:

    • reducing administrative and compliance costs without compromising investor confidence;
    • expanding the base of investors who provide financing to companies and enhancing liquidity; and
    • diversifying and growing the stock list to increase the attractiveness of the marketplace overall.
  • The 2015 white paper was originally borne out of extensive industry consultation and collaboration, and the TSX-V conducted a series of coast-to-coast town-hall meetings during the start of 2016 to solicit feedback and recommendations from stakeholders.
  • A number of key actions outlined in the white paper have been implemented or submitted to securities regulators for approval. These include eliminating the general requirement for sponsorship and revising certain shareholder approval requirements.
  • The TSX-V recently made a formal submission to the House of Commons' Standing Committee on Finance advocating for (i) small and early-stage companies to be fully eligible for the refundable investment tax credit under the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SRED) program, and (ii) the extension of the flow-through share program for the technology and innovation sectors.

Reducing Administrative and Compliance Costs

The white paper identified several initiatives aimed at reducing the administrative and compliance costs faced by issuers. In the progress report, the TSX confirmed that it has

  • drafted policy revisions for the elimination of the sponsorship requirements that will soon be filed for regulatory approval,
  • implemented changes to its shareholder approval requirements for certain issuers completing arm's length transactions, subject to pending regulatory review, and
  • launched an online, automated filing system for certain capital raising transactions and is developing additional systems to provide for the electronic filing of other materials and related fees.

Expanding the Investor Base and Enhancing Liquidity

The progress report discusses the TSX-V's recent efforts to bolster its business development and analytic and research products to increase awareness of the venture market. The progress report highlights the recent launch of several TSX-V online tools and apps designed to facilitate direct communication between investors and issuers and improve the analytical tools available to market participants. The TSX-V has also indicated that it continues to make progress on the Market Making program discussed in the white paper and has scheduled an increased number of roadshows, webinars and "Investor Days" for 2016.

Diversifying and Growing the Stock List

The white paper noted that the TSX-V is often perceived as overly resource-oriented and this may deter non-resource early-stage companies from pursuing a TSX-V listing. The progress report indicates that the TSX-V has significantly increased its business development efforts with stakeholders such as venture capitalists, private equity firms and angel investors, with a particular focus on the innovation and technology sectors. Additionally, the TSX-V recently made a formal submission to the House of Commons' Standing Committee on Financing advocating for (i) small and early-stage public companies to be fully eligible for the refundable investment tax credit under the SRED program, and (ii) the extension of the flow-through share program for companies in the technology and innovation sector. The TSX-V has indicated that, at this stage, it will not pursue the aggressive delisting of inactive or non-compliant issuers as has been requested by some stakeholders.

What's Next?

The TSX-V appears to be fully committed to its revitalization efforts but several of its initiatives, particularly those aimed at reducing the administrative and compliance costs of issuers, remain to be implemented. Issuers and other stakeholders who stand to benefit from the proposed initiatives should continue to monitor these developments in the coming months. 

A copy of the TSX-V's white paper and progress update are available here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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