12 August 2010

Social Stock Exchange

Social Stock Exchange logo
Social Stock Exchange

Award-winning charity CAN is collaborating with the Social Stock Exchange (SSE) Ltd on a research project to support the development of a Financial Services Authority-regulated global social stock exchange that will allow investors to trade exclusively in companies with social and environmental goals.

The exchange, when it becomes operational, will be designed for companies, both large and small, that specialise in providing goods and services explicitly for a social purpose who need to raise significant amounts of capital for growth and expansion. The objective is to help these socially-minded companies – essentially market-led business that prioritise social mission rather than just profits – to raise equity and gain access to capital in order to fulfil their social goals.

The research, which is being funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, is focusing on the production of a set of rulebooks for the Exchange that will require companies to be more transparent about their social impact.

Rulebooks are important legal and procedural documents that govern the conduct of companies listed on exchanges and of corporate advisers that bring companies to market. The trading and admissions rules will be unique to the SSE and very different to normal exchanges. CAN will draw up and publish guidance notes for issuers, corporate advisers and investors who will operate on the new exchange. These will cover guidance on trading rules and governance structures such as measures against short-selling, share register publication, poison-pill defences and the issue of preference shares.

Andrew Croft, Chief Executive of CAN, says:
“Partnering with the Social Stock Exchange on this research is an important step in encouraging investment in companies trading for financial and social benefit. CAN is committed to supporting the development of a social investment market – one that recognises the value of both social enterprises and socially-minded companies. This research is a cornerstone of the vision organisations like CAN and
SSE share.”

Pradeep Jethi, Chief Executive Officer of SSE, says:
“What makes a social stock exchange different from normal stock exchanges is that it is able to authenticate its issuers as being primarily for social or environmental purpose. The research into and development of a unique set of admissions rules, trading rules and disclosure rules is fundamental to this differentiation.”

Andrew Barnett, Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in the UK says:
“One of our core objectives is to build the capacity of civil society to improve impact through the clear measurement of outcomes; the development and implementation of the Social Stock Exchange rulebooks offer an innovative model to achieve this objective and represents the first time so many social enterprises will have been assessed on such a scale.”

Before the Social Stock Exchange can be launched the rulebooks and guidance notes will need to be approved by the Financial Services Authority. CAN and its delivery partner, the Social Stock Exchange Ltd, will solicit views from leading social enterprises, social impact investors, social capital market participants and specialist law firms who advise the sector.

Ends

More information from:
(1) Pradeep Jethi, Co-founder and CEO, Social Stock Exchange Ltd
Tel: 07968 030720
Email: [email protected]
(2) Anne Nicholls, CAN Press Office
Tel: 0207 250 8046. Mobile: 07973 491439.
Email: [email protected]
(3) Kate Markey, Deputy Chief Executive, CAN
Tel: 020 7250 8060. Email: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

CAN is recognised as one of the UK’s leading organisations for the development, promotion and support for Third Sector organisations, social entrepreneurs and social enterprises. It runs a number of programmes that include Breakthrough (a venture philanthropy fund which levers capital and skill into social enterprises), CAN Engage and CAN Invest which provides business support projects, mentoring and pro bono services levered from the private sector into social enterprises and charities. Its award-winning social enterprise CAN Mezzanine provides office space, events, services and networking to third sector organisations and (to date) houses over 120 third sector organisations. CAN also runs a social return on investment (SROI) consultancy which helps organisations to account for, value and communicate the impact of their activities. For more information on CAN’s work visit www.can-online.org.uk

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is an international charitable foundation with cultural, educational and social interests. Based in Lisbon with offices in London and Paris, the Foundation is in a privileged position to support national and transnational work tackling contemporary issues. The purpose of the UK Branch in London is to connect and enrich the experiences of individuals, families and communities with a special interest in supporting those who are most disadvantaged. One of its current objectives is to support civil society in developing the capacity for maximising social return. For more information please visit www.gulbenkian.org.uk

The aim of the Social Stock Exchange Ltd is to create and launch a social stock exchange that allows trading of securities in social purpose companies on a stock exchange regulated by the Financial Services Authority. It is being backed by the Rockefeller Foundation through its Impact Investing Initiative. When it launches the new exchange aims to open with around 15 businesses and grow to around 200 or more within 5 years.

Rulebooks are legal and procedural documents governing the conduct of (a) companies listing on exchanges (including admissions criteria) and (b) corporate advisors bringing companies to market at IPO (initial public offering or flotation) and providing oversight for the issuers on exchange thereafter.