7 Oct 2011

Weldon wants more small firm listings on NZX

7:09 am on 7 October 2011

New Zealand stock exchange chief executive Mark Weldon says he hopes to encourage small firm listings by rejigging the lower cost alternative market before he steps down early next year.

During his nearly 10 years in the role, NZX has boosted its earnings, mainly by expanding its operations to include rural publications, dairy and grain futures, and funds management.

But Mr Weldon has had less success attracting firms to list, though he says he's confident new tax rules, KiwiSaver and the Government's intention to partially privatise some state-owned enterprises will reverse that.

Mr Weldon says the stock exchange has struggled in terms of companies looking to raise $2 - $20 million, though he points out that no market in the world has been massively successful at the under $20 million level.

He says given the size, shape and structure of New Zealand's economy, with a lot of small- to medium-sized enterprises, it's something that will need to be pushed.

Mr Weldon says the next two to five years will be the most positive that have been seen for equities.

Departing Commerce Minister Simon Power says Mr Weldon's contribution is wider than just his role at the stock exchange.

Mr Weldon, a former Olympic swimmer, also headed the Prime Minister's Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust, which raised almost $100 million for the quake-damaged city.

Mr Power says Mark Weldon has made a wide and deep contribution to New Zealand over the last 10 years or so.

Mark Weldon says he doesn't have any plans after stepping down from the NZX as yet, but would like to remain in New Zealand. A successor has not been named.