Press Releases

Wagner Delivers Remarks at Hearing on Strengthening U.S. Public Markets

Washington, March 9, 2023 -

Today, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, led by Chairman Ann Wagner (MO-02), is holding a hearing entitled, “U.S. Public Markets Built for the 21st Century: Exploring Reforms to Make Our Public Markets Attractive for Small and Emerging Companies Raising Capital.”


Watch Chairman Wagner’s opening remarks here.


Read Chairman Wagner’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery.


“Thank you all for joining us this morning.  


“The subject of today’s hearing couldn’t be more important. In a challenging and increasingly competitive global economy, the strength of our public markets is vital to our long-term national prosperity and the financial well-being of American families. 


“Our public markets have long been recognized as ‘the envy of the world,’ and it is our responsibility as lawmakers on this Subcommittee to ensure they continue to thrive.


“However, the cost of entering our public markets has doubled since the 1990s, and at the same time, the number of publicly traded companies has drastically decreased. 


“Today, there are fewer companies traded on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange than there were three decades ago.  


“In addition, fewer companies are choosing to enter the U.S. public markets through initial public offerings, or IPOs. 


“When fewer companies go public, it limits the investment opportunities available to everyday Americans saving for retirement or their children’s education.

According to a report by Ernst and Young, IPO activity in the U.S. last year was the slowest it’s been in over a decade, with the number of IPOs falling by 78 percent and the amount of capital raised in IPOs falling by 94 percent compared with 2021.


“Equally concerning is that while U.S. IPOs declined to their lowest point in more than a decade, China saw more IPO activity last year than anywhere else in the world. In fact, China accounted for 39 percent of all global IPOs in 2022. 


“The declining number of public companies and slow U.S. IPO activity limits opportunities for everyday investors to invest in the next generation of successful businesses. 

“It also stifles the growth and progress of the U.S. economy as public markets have been a crucial source of funding for high-growth companies. 


“Additionally, the increasing IPO activity in China underscores the need for urgent action to outcompete global adversaries.  


“Without smart, immediate action, the declining number of public companies will worsen. 


“Most economists predict that high interest rates and inflation will lead to at least a mild recession by the end of this year, which will only further weaken the U.S. IPO market.


“On top of an already uncertain economic outlook, the SEC, under Chair Gensler, has neglected its mandate to facilitate capital formation and seems unlikely to take any reasonable measures to strengthen our public markets. 


“Instead, the commission has proposed a deluge of new rulemakings that will raise costs and discourage companies from raising capital in our public markets. 


“These rulemakings are a solution in search of a problem and fail to adequately consider the compliance costs that burden smaller public companies.


“Rather than put forward policies that will negatively impact our markets and harm investors, the SEC should work with Congress on proposals that encourage growth in public markets.


“Nevertheless, I am optimistic that Congress will come together to solve this critical issue. I’ve seen us do it before, when we passed the JOBS Act over ten years ago under similar circumstances. 


“The blueprint is here, and each of the policies considered today has the potential to make a significant difference and encourage capital formation in our public markets. 


“I look forward to working with my colleagues in this Subcommittee to ensure our public markets remain the most attractive in the world.”



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