Getting Your Company Listed on The Stock Market

Getting your company listed on the stock market is a sure fire way to increase its prestige, and an extremely well-trodden path to raising vital capital through selling shares. However, it’s also a lengthy process laden with legal steps, a great deal of paperwork and a complex exchange process. There are several stages you must navigate successfully before you’re fully authorised to finally start trading, starting with carrying out the legal work necessary for an initial public stock offering. Let’s breakdown the process step-by-step for you.

Step One: Going Public

The first step you must take on your way to getting a stock exchange listing is to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The paperwork you will need is in the shape of the Form S-1 (visit the Securities and Exchange Commission website to access the forms and any other information you require). It includes essential information about your company such as a detailed breakdown of your business operations, management, audited financials and risk factors, all of which are contained in the prospectus. On top of this the SEC will ask for you a host of other financial details outside of the prospectus. The SEC is likely to reject your registration out right if it has reason to believe the information you have provided is not fully complete or - even worse - misleading or false. If you’re a smaller, new company you may be able to take advantage of a streamlined SEC process when filing your registration.


Step Two: Meet the Listing Standards

The NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange both have stringent listing requirements your company has to meet before progressing further on the road to being listed. And if you do not adhere to them fully, this will be the end of the road for your company. Included in the requirements are your initial stock price, your total market value, and your exact number of shareholders and shares amongst others. Luckily, if you are fortunate enough to get a listing to begin trading on an exchange, the standards you have to meet to remain there become significantly less strict.

Step Three: Being Accepted on the Board

It’s important to remember there is a fair bit of variance between the standards of each stock exchange. Each one forms its own standards and this may keep the door open for your company even if you can’t get a listing on your first choice option. As just one example: the New York Stock Exchange maintains a distinct market - New York Stock Exchange American - for companies that aren’t yet big enough to qualify for the main board. Also, keep in mind that online stock trading has proliferated massively over the last 10 to 12 years and continues to grow.

After you have made your choice on the appropriate market for your company, next on your list is choosing a ticker symbol. The shorthand for your company, your ticker symbol is vital and must be selected thoughtfully. It has to comply to SEC criteria, your board’s regulations and - naturally - it can’t duplicate any other company’s.


Interestingly, there is a school of thought amongst marketeers that investors react more positively to ticker symbols that closely resemble words they can pronounce. As examples - currently, American Airlines’ ticker is AAL, while British Airways use BAY. It might be worth thinking about.

Step Four: Lodge to Application to The Exchange

Having compiled your prospectus, chosen your ticker symbol and undergone all of the necessary steps, the final stage in the process is to lodge your application to the exchange or exchanges on which you are looking to be listed. On top of the application form you need to include a series of other documentation:

  • Confirmation from your underwriters that your company meets the listing standards
  • Confirmation your company satisfies the board's shareholder criteria
  • A listing agreement fully completed by one of your company’s executive officers
  • A certificate from the state you're chartered in, stating that your business remains in good health
  • A copy of the corporate charter and bylaws


Only once you have submitted these papers in addition to your application will you be able to begin selling your shares on the exchange.

About the author

Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and business consultant who loves sharing her insights on the latest business opportunities. She also enjoys and takes pride in delivering leading social media campaigns.


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