SME financing through public markets has not fully recovered since the financial crisis, although listing on stock exchanges can give a significant boost to this type of businesses. This includes the listing of shares and bonds on 'SME Growth Markets', which is a new category of trading venues dedicated to small issuers. Facilitating SMEs' access to finance at each stage of their development is central to the Commission's Capital Markets Union (CMU) project. Much has already been achieved, notably simplified prospectus rules, as well as requirements for SME growth markets that will enter into force now in January 2018 with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). However, more still needs to be done: the number of SME initial public offerings (IPOs) today has halved compared to 2005-2007. The Commission is assessing whether targeted amendments to EU rules could deliver a more conducive regulatory environment to support SME listings. The consultation will help the Commission identify ways to cut red tape and build a supportive environment for SMEs wanting to list on public markets. At the same time, the rules will continue to safeguard investor protection and market integrity.
The consultation runs until 26 February 2018.