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Developing equity funding


Developing equity funding is essential for the funding of growing and innovative companies and also for strengthening the resilience of the European corporate sector. At present, EU corporates and particularly SMEs rely predominantly on debt (bank loans and debt securities) for their external financing, resulting in a significant equity gap, and this trend has increased during the Covid crisis with the exceptional measures put in place to support the economy. Rising interest rates are however leading firms to reconsider their financing options.

This insufficient role of equity in the funding of EU firms is due to several supply and demand side factors including challenges raised by equity financing for issuers (transparency, dilution issues, burden of listing processes), the more favourable tax treatment of debt financing, the limited appetite of EU citizens for equity investments and also the high cost of equity investment for insurance companies and banks due to current prudential requirements. EU equity markets also face several structural issues with fragmented infrastructures and under-developed equity ecosystems.

Strengthening EU equity markets and improving their attractiveness are among the objectives of the on-going CMU initiative. The Listing Act adopted in 2023 aims to simplify listing requirements for companies – particularly SMEs – wanting to raise funds on public markets and improve the proportionality of the market abuse framework and also introduces multiple vote share structures. Additional CMU measures that may have an impact on equity financing include the review of the ELTIF framework and the European Single Access Point (ESAP) leading to the creation of a EU data hub for facilitating the access to corporate information notably on SMEs. Certain measures of the amended MiFIR framework, such as the implementation of an EU consolidated tape for equity and improvements to MiFID II rules regarding research and market infrastructures should also support EU equity markets. The DEBRA (Debt-equity bias reduction allowance) initiative may also help to foster more equity financing by proposing to introduce an allowance that will grant to equity the same tax treatment as debt; this project is however at a standstill at present.

Eurofi documents

Extracted from the main Eurofi publications (Regulatory Updates, Views Magazines and Conference Summaries)

Eurofi Views Magazine chapters

Increasing equity financing - February 2024 new

Rodrigo Buenaventura - Spanish Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV) | Luís Laginha de Sousa - Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM) | Līga Kļaviņa - Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia | Ignacio Gutiérrez-Orrantia - Citi | Roland Chai - Nasdaq | Gelsomina Vigliotti - European Investment Bank (EIB) | Armand Kersten - European Investors’ Association (VEB)

SME equity funding: Listing Act and ESAP proposals - April 2023

Alexandra Jour-Schroeder - European Commission | Kęstutis Kupšys - European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) | Peter Palus - Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to EU

Listing Act and DEBRA: prospects for equity markets - September 2022

Carmine Di Noia - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development | Benoît de Juvigny - Autorité des Marchés Financiers | Märten Ross - Ministry of Finance, Estonia | Alain Godard - European Investment Fund | Gerassimos Thomas - European Commission | Sophie Javary - BNP Paribas | Gerben Everts - European Investors’ Association

SME equity financing - February 2022

Benoît de Juvigny - Autorité des Marchés | Alain Godard - European Investment Fund | Beatriz Alonso-Majagranzas - SIX | Rimantas Šadžius - European Court of Auditors

Optimizing the financing of EU corporates - September 2021

Carmine Di Noia - Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa | Duncan van Limbergen - De Nederlandsche Bank | Roger Havenith - European Investment Fund | Bjørn Sibbern - Nasdaq | Ed Cook - BlackRock

Equity funding - April 2021

Mario Nava - European Commission | Elke Kallenbach - Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany | Sebastien Raspiller - Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery Plan, France | Jesús González Nieto-Márquez - BME