News & Views

Some comfort for European SME investors -  June 2020

The FT recently released its Fastest Growing Companies surveys for Europe and the Americas. Prima facie, the tables make pretty depressing reading for the Old Continent, but there is a silver lining…..

The table below picks out companies at various points in the ranking to give a broad idea of how the regions compare. What we are really trying to do is compare Europe to the US, so we should have stripped out Canada and LatAm, but the US dominates the list to such an extent that the whole ranking should be a good enough proxy.

The top two lines of the table tell the story that we are accustomed to hear, with the US outstripping sclerotic, disjointed Europe both in growth and company size (Netflix plays Just Eat at the top end!). The gap in size is so wide that an out-and-out capitalist might argue the case for Europe giving up, swearing fealty to the White House, and accepting life as a collection of vassal states, in the interest of the wealth of its citizens. READ MORE…


How to fix European SME capital markets -  November 2020

…and what is it with the Swedes?

Sweden has hit the headlines in a big way this year. Many say it has shown the rest of Europe how to react to a crisis and, although it has come in for some flak as second-wave cases surge, when one looks at the (touching wood) very contained connected fatalities, they may have a point.

Whether or not the country deserves high regard for Tegnell's cool-headedness has been the subject of many inflamed debates, but there is an area (no literary flair in this post - it's in the title) where undisputable facts show that Sweden leads Europe. Its listed SME scene is by far the most vibrant, as borne out by its bucking of the dismal trend in new listings. The chart below comes from a very serious, excellent report from Oxera, commissioned by the EU, and described as contributing "to the evidence base needed to further advance equity markets in Europe", which repeatedly cites Sweden as a blueprint for breathing new life into the listed arena.  READ MORE…


The EU's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation - February 2021

                         The fund managers' problem that will also affect issuers

The EU SFDR, which is part of the EU co-ordinated Green Deal, oversees ESG disclosure by investment firms. Crucially it governs which investment products are allowed to be described as sustainable. Inevitably it will result in the need for a raft of new datapoints from investee companies. While the compulsory disclosures have been simplified following a year of consultation, a lot of the data is still not readily available. Implementation by investors is due in March, meaning 2021 will be a year of heightened discussions and further preparation by issuers. READ MORE…