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Big Board Chief Travels to China, India to Boost Company Listings

The Chief executive officer of the New York Stock Exchange, John Thain, is heading to India from October 17, 18 and China on October 19, 20, 21 to expand the Exchange's listings in the region and promote the role of U.S. capital markets in the global marketplace.

The New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock market, already lists 80 companies from 10 nations in the Asia Pacific region. And Mr. Thain wants to make sure the list keeps growing.

"What we offer those companies is, first, access to the single largest pool of capital in the world. We have 90 million investors and $20 trillion of market value traded here. We also give companies great visibility and so it is a great opportunity for companies to get a high profile," he said.

The New York Stock Exchange began its relationship with China in 1986. The relationship with India is newer, starting in 1999. But Mr. Thain expects that to change as India's economy continues to grow and businesses look for investment capital. "When we look specifically at India, we have 8 companies listed there already. India is a very rapidly expanding economy and I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to get new listings there. We also have 30 companies in the greater China region so we have a very strong presence there. Those 30 companies have a market value in excess of $500 billion," he said.

John Thain will meet with government and regulatory officials along with business leaders during his trip. One question that is bound to come under discussion is the issue of privatization. Mr. Thain says he always makes the case for opening up companies to investors, especially those in the infrastructure sector. Another anticipated issue is compliance with stringent US accounting laws. The head of the New York Stock Exchange says the sometimes burdensome US regulations are advantageous to investors.

"One of the great advantages of having international companies list on the New York Stock Exchange is that they have to comply with US accounting standards. They have to comply with US corporate governance standards. They have to comply with US transparency and disclosure standards. Actually I think that is a great thing because the attraction of getting access to the world's largest capital markets really does push some of those companies to comply with what are the highest standards in the world and that is very good for the investors," he said.

Almost 3,000 companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Non-US companies account for almost one-third of the total market value.

The New York Stock Exchange has two offices in the Asia-Pacific region, one in Tokyo and one in Hong Kong, and is waiting for approval from the Chinese government to open an office in Beijing.