Exchange joins the banks online

THE Australian Stock Exchange has initiated a pilot joint venture with a number of major financial institutions to encourage investment in emerging, potentially high-growth Australian businesses via its Internet-based Enterprise Market (EM).

Six EM-registered business advisers – Ord Minnett, Dick-sons, William Buck, Bentleys MRI, Heath & Fletcher, Pacific Capital Corporation – and institutions including the Commonwealth Bank are involved.

Final details are expected in early September.

EM is a web-based market that assists non-listed businesses to raise up to $5 million capital without the cost of preparing a prospectus.

ASX managing director Richard Humphry said EM had facilitated the contribution of more than $20 million in capital from private investors with an average of around $1.5 million per business in the past year.

“Figures indicate it was the most successful private equity capital-raising vehicle in Australia in the last financial year,” Mr Humphry said.

He said EM-registered corporate and financial advisers could use EM as a ‘business matching service’.

“In places like Silicon Valley, everyone knows what’s going on. The informal networks of advisers know a lot about all of the deals which are available – not just their own portfolios,” Mr Humphry said.

“In Australia, it’s not unusual for people in the same advisory firm to be unaware of deals their colleagues are working on, let alone projects in the rest of the private investment community.”

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