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2021 in Review and the Road Ahead

A Banner Year for Growth and Innovation by the Exchange for the Innovation Economy

2021 was another year full of managing the challenges and repercussions of the global pandemic. Although NEO has remained relatively unscathed, we recognize that not everyone has been so fortunate and that many charities have been impacted as fundraising became more challenging. Acknowledging our success and the responsibilities that come with it, we not only continued to show our support to the community through domestic and international charities, but we stepped it up:

  • We continued to support the Sunnybrook Foundation, which provides funding for Sunnybrook’s frontline care providers and critical COVID-19 research, as part of its mission to create the future of health care;
  • We continued to support Wall Street Rides FAR to raise money for the Autism Science Foundation – funding autism research; Hold’em for Life – funding cancer research; ComKids – supporting youth-at-risk; and the We Charity Foundation – funding education in Kenya.
  • We became a Founding Partner and sponsor of The Prosperity Project, which funds initiatives that seek to stop COVID-19 from setting back Canadian women, across all backgrounds, from the progress made over the last 30 years.

For NEO, itself, 2021 was indeed a very successful year characterized by growth and – a key driver of our success – relentless innovation to provide a better experience for investors and capital-raisers.

A few key metrics that illustrate our growth:

  • The NEO Exchange’s average monthly trading market share grew from just south of 12% in 2020 to 13% in 2021, with a couple of months taking us very close to the 15% mark;
  • We increased the total number of listings on the NEO Exchange from 96, at the end of 2020, to 190 at the end of 2021, with corporate listings representing the lion’s share of the growth;
  • We continued to expand the reach of the NEO Exchange market data, which is now largely ubiquitous with its adoption by SIX Financial Information, a major European data distribution platform – one of our most notable wins last year; and
  • NEO Connect, our platform facilitating the distribution of mutual funds and private investments for both funds and corporates, enabled the raise of an additional $1 billion+ in 2021, taking the overall amount raised through the platform since inception to more than $2 billion.

On the innovation front, 2021 was another year of listening to the industry and enabling new products and solutions:

  • In April, we implemented a new closing mechanism providing an accurate closing price for less actively traded ETFs. As an immediate consequence, over $1 billion in ETF assets under management were migrated to NEO;
  • In April, we also announced the pilot program launch of the G-Corp, a new publicly traded acquisition corporation enabling earlier stage growth companies to access capital and go public on a Tier 1 stock exchange with less risk. Canaccord Genuity G Ventures Corp. (“CGGV”) became the first G-Corp to go public on the NEO Exchange and while market circumstances dulled the take-up of this innovative instrument, we expect 2022 to be the year when they will shine;
  • In June, we introduced a new and innovative solution to provide the MFDA community with access to real-time ETF market data to help MFDA advisors make informed investment decisions and ensure a level playing field across all Canadian advisors. MFDA firms responded and we now provide more than 5,000 MFDA advisors with real-time ETF market data;
  • In July, CIBC launched the first-ever Canadian Depositary Receipts (“CDRs”) on the NEO Exchange, making it extremely easy for Canadian investors and advisors to invest in some of the world’s largest public companies through fractional share ownership, in Canadian dollars, and with a built-in currency hedge. The investor response has been beyond everyone’s expectations;
  • In December, the NEO Exchange launched the first-ever platform providing investors and advisors with free, one-stop access to real-time institutional grade market data, research, and analysis on all Canadian ETFs, the Canadian ETF Market. Investor and advisor response has been both strong and complimentary.

Harnessing this growth and innovation also allowed us to deliver on some other remarkable achievements:

  • The inclusion of NEO Exchange listed securities in FTSE Russell and MSCI Indexes, validating our rightful position as a Tier 1 stock exchange and enabling us to offer yet another benefit to capital-raising companies, above and beyond our exceptional client service, unique liquidity solutions, and unfettered access to market data;
  • Our ability to attract exceptional industry leaders to our Board – with Lori-Ann Beausoleil, a former top partner at PWC, and Ian Telfer, a prominent entrepreneur and executive in the mining industry joining the team;
  • Our ongoing ability to organize insightful events about the topics that matter, with, as a lighthouse example, the NEO Presents event DeFi and the Future of Finance, featuring television personality and financier Kevin O’Leary, Andrew Kiguel (CEO of Tokens.com), Brian Mosoff (CEO of Ether Capital Corp.), Ben Samaroo (CEO of WonderFi), and Wouter Witvoet (CEO of DeFi Technologies);
  • The growing recognition, both domestically and internationally, that the NEO Exchange is the Canadian exchange of the innovation economy, simply because we understand innovators; and
  • Cboe’s decision to acquire NEO, not only acknowledging everything we have achieved over the years but providing us and them with exceptional growth opportunities over the years to come.

I am extremely proud of our past achievements and more excited than ever about the future that lies ahead of us. The way we started 2022, firing on all cylinders, bodes well for the days, months and years to come.

None of these achievements, and so many others that have gone unmentioned, would have been possible without you, our clients, our partners, our directors and, may I say, our friends. Thank you for your support and continued confidence.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge the tremendous effort of the entire NEO team in bringing our plans to fruition. We have a powerhouse team of talented and diverse individuals who are all pulling in the same direction to make Canadian capital markets better. We will continue to do whatever we can to keep that powerhouse humming and are honoured that once again, NEO has been certified as a Great Place to Work.  While I commit to more disruption for the better to our industry stakeholders, I commit to our team that we will not only maintain, but continuously seek to further improve our dynamic culture, stimulating work assignments, support, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and leadership.

Jos Schmitt
President & CEO
NEO Exchange