FSC mulls new index for start-ups

FUNDRAISING::The commission is aiming to complete in one month a feasibility study for a new sub-market to let the public invest in start-ups, Wellington Koo said

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Oct 06, 2017 - Page 12

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) is considering establishing a new stock index to help start-ups raise funds, similar to precedents set up in the UK and Singapore, FSC Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said yesterday.

Koo made the remarks in response to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Karen Yu’s (余宛如) comments that the Taipei Exchange’s Go Incubation Board for Startup and Acceleration Firms (GISA, 創櫃板) has garnered a lukewarm reception since its launch in January 2014.

The lack of a sound environment for start-ups to raise funds has made Taiwanese companies vulnerable to competition from Asian rivals, Yu said, citing as an example Shopee (蝦皮), an online shopping platform operated by Singaporean consumer Internet platform provider Sea Ltd.

Backed by successive rounds of funding, Shopee has begun to encroach on the market share of local companies, such as PChome Online Inc (網路家庭), Yu said.

Koo said the commission has not ruled out establishing a new sub-market to let the public invest in start-ups, similar to Britain’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Singapore’s Catalist.

He acknowledged that GISA has become little more than a stage for a few microbusinesses to gain publicity, and that the commission would complete a feasibility study for a new sub-market in one month.

Since its launch, GISA has received 269 applications, with 114 gaining approvals and raising a total of NT$1.86 billion (US$61.3 million), Securities and Futures Bureau data showed.

However, 34 have since delisted, leaving 80 on the board, the data showed.

Among those have been delisted, one has moved to the Taipei Exchange’s mainboard and two to its Emerging Stock Board.

The additional upkeep costs to meet internal control, auditing and information disclosure and regulatory filing requirements had driven companies to delist from GISA, Securities and Futures Bureau Deputy Director-General Chou Hui-mei (周惠美) said at a separate press conference.

While the exchange offers free consultation for legal, accounting and compliance requirements, companies need to hire staff to perform these functions, Chou said.