1. What is the right balance between capital formation and investor protection?
You should never forgo investor protection because if it is questioned, everything breaks down. Capital invested is based on trust, so if investors feel that they cannot trust the organization or the rules to protect them, there is no capital formation. The question then becomes: at what point does the investor protection require too much red tape that it hinders doing business and does not allow investors to partake in opportunities that may otherwise have been available to them?
2. When is a company too big to be private and too small to be public?
Companies always begin as private entities, therefore there is no definitive answer to this question. The point at issue is rather what motivates a company to move out of private ownership into a public entity. In the past, companies went public sooner since this was the only avenue to get access to capital. Today, that has changed; companies are staying private longer and wealth creation is achieved mostly in the private sector. In addition, company balance sheets contain more intangible assets than tangible ones and companies want to protect their IP longer, since less disclosure is demanded from private companies. Finally, making a decision to go public requires a specific motivation or need to come into play, such as that of a company wanting to use its stock as part of a negotiation in an acquisition.
3. What affect do you see greater interest rates having on capital raising in the Private Markets?
Interest rate increases will slow down the pace of technological advancements. When interest rates are low, capital is cheaper and, as such, more investment is made in new as well as “long shot” projects. When capital gets expensive, there is an opportunity cost and decisions must be made on whether or not to invest. In general, less capital will be available for start-ups and there will be fierce competition to access this capital.