Companies are expected to provide financial information to the GAX Committee as part of the application process. The Committee uses these records, along with all other relevant information provided, in order to assess the company’s suitability for listing.
Once listed, your company’s financial information becomes of interest to shareholders and potential investors. This transparency is intended to enhance the investment process and make it easier for investors to decide where to place their money. Having your business’ financial records publicly available is no cause for bashfulness or embarrassment. Rather, it acts as an incentive for your company to adhere to all relevant financial regulations and keep its books in order.
Once a company lists on the GAX all shareholders become part owners in the business. Shareholders bring their money to invest in your business by providing capital funding for the firm. In exchange for the investment part-ownership is given to the investors in the form of stock shares. This is called public ownership. However, allowing part of the company to be publicly owned does not mean that you will lose control. As the business owner, you are the chief decision maker at all points in the listing process, in association with advisors, lawyers, and sponsors. You will decide how much of the company you are willing to offer to the public, how much capital you wish to initially raise. You will decide what rights will be afforded to shareholders. This enables the business owners to retain the controlling interest in the company.
The GAX is administered by the Ghana Stock Exchange in close association with the Securities & Exchange Commission. All actors – be it listed SMEs or investors – must meet specific requirements before they are permitted to engage in the market; they must then adhere by the GAX rules in order to continue to participate. The close monitoring of the market ensures credibility in all transactions and accountability from all participants. Like the main exchange, dealings on the GAX are subject to GSE regulations and the relevant Ghanaian laws.
As part of the objective of the GAX to accommodate small businesses the requirements have been reduced and the process has been shortened. GSE has endeavoured to make it as easy as possible for business to access capital on the stock exchange while upholding the necessary regulatory standards. The application procedures are in place in order to ensure that GAX companies are fully prepared for the market upon entry. The potential pay-offs make the application process worthwhile.
While the listing process can be costly there are programmes and funds in place to offer assistance. The GAX Listing Support Fund was set up to help SMEs cover the costs associated with listing. SMEs that meet the criteria may be offered funding covering up to one hundred per cent of the advisory and legal services. It is a revolving fund and thus subject to repayment. Furthermore the GAX listing rules require that the company’s sponsor to underwrite the minimum offer to be raised through the initial public offer (IPO). The underwriting guarantees that the company will receive the desired amount whether or not the IPO is successful.
Capital markets have long been misconceived as a “big boys’ playground”. Many believe that only large, well established, and even multi-national companies are suited for stock markets. This is untrue. The GAX remains distinct from GSE’s main exchange in order to allow SMEs to interact and compete with one another for investment while they expand and develop. Any SME that can meet the basic requirements is eligible.