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Cromwell Coulson

R. Cromwell Coulson is President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of OTC Markets Group, Inc. responsible for the company’s overall growth and strategic direction. Since acquiring OTC Markets’ predecessor business in 1997, Cromwell has transformed the company from a privately-held publisher of broker-dealer quotations into a publicly-traded company operating three public markets for 10,000 securities that trade nearly $200 billion in dollar volume annually. Cromwell is a strong advocate of improving access to capital for small companies, supporting a diverse ecosystem of broker-dealers, and empowering investors with information. He has testified before Congress and spoken on these and other issues at numerous industry conferences. Prior to OTC Markets, Cromwell was an institutional trader and portfolio manager at Carr Securities Corporation. He holds an OPM from Harvard Business School and received his BBA from Southern Methodist University. Cromwell is Chairman of the FINRA Market Regulation Committee that advises FINRA on rulemaking and trading issues. He is also a non-Executive Director of the S. W. Mitchell European Fund LP, and its feeder funds, managed by S. W. Mitchell Capital, a specialist European equities investment boutique based in London.

Three Strong Points for SME Markets

Earlier in 2017, The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) released their report highlighting major barriers of entry to equity market financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In conjunction with a survey infrastructure supported by the Milken Institute, the WFE made three key recommendations to securities market regulators and exchanges:

  1. The complexity, cost and scale of listing, and maintaining a listing, should be reduced, to incentivize the use of equity markets by SMEs.
  2. The quality, not the quantity, of information available about SMEs should be enhanced. This includes information that SMEs disclose for regulatory compliance as well as that from third-parties.
  3. Mechanisms should be introduced to enhance secondary market liquidity in SME stocks and on SME markets, such as: dedicated market makers; expanding and diversifying the investor base; and exploring alternative secondary market trading models such as a quote-driven market.

When I read the WFE report, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between these findings and the unique public market framework we have built at OTC Markets Group to help smaller public companies succeed.

Continue reading “Three Strong Points for SME Markets”

How Can We Take the Pain Out of Being Public? Part II

In a previous blog post, I talked about some of the “pains” associated with a being an exchange-listed company today.  Not only does it cost $2.5 million to do an IPO onto a U.S. exchange, it costs on average $1.5 million per year in legal, accounting, advisory and compliance costs to maintain an exchange listing, according to a 2011 study by the IPO Task Force.  And that doesn’t include the value of management’s time and internal resources that are diverted to meet increasingly complex exchange rules and processes – and away from growing the business.

At OTC Markets Group, our goal is to remove the obstacles associated with being a publicly-traded company by reducing costs and complexities for business and investors.  In this post, I outline the three ways we’re helping to take the pain out of being public:

  1. our data-driven market standards
  2. technology-driven information distribution
  3. broker-dealer-based trading model

Continue reading “How Can We Take the Pain Out of Being Public? Part II”

Let Public Companies Sell Shares in the Public Markets

If we want growing companies to go public, we need our public markets to be a competitive source of growth capital. One easy solution is to let public companies sell their shares in the same way they can now buy them back: through brokers directly into their established public markets. Removing the outdated restrictions on selling shares publicly will lower the cost of capital and attract more growth companies to our markets.

Continue reading “Let Public Companies Sell Shares in the Public Markets”

How Can We Take the Pain Out of Being Public?

A key driver of the American economy is the capital formation process that fosters innovation and new enterprises.   Entrepreneurs raise capital to grow their business, innovate and create jobs.  For many smaller companies, the expectation is to conduct an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and list on a stock exchange – hoping to build liquidity and visibility, and ultimately, long term shareholder value.  While these efforts are well-intention-ed, many companies today find themselves putting off the IPO because they do not want to be overwhelmed by the increasing management time commitment, red tape and costs associated with being a public company.

Continue reading “How Can We Take the Pain Out of Being Public?”

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