The ultimate dream for impact investors and social enterprises is to have a stock exchange aimed solely at mission-driven companies. However, this is very difficult to pull off as it requires a critical mass of investors and stock-exchange ready companies. Furthermore, there are several regulatory and technology-related hurdles to overcome.
Former social entrepreneur Dureen Shahnaz, who launched Impact Partners, a private marketplace that connects accredited investors with social enterprises, faced the challenge and is about to launch a social enterprise stock exchange in Singapore. It will be a public stock exchange for social enterprises called Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIXA) and is scheduled to launch at the forum Igniting Capital Markets for Social Good on 25-26 June in Singapore.
As Singapore regulators insist that the exchange will not be open to retail, it will initially only be for accredited investors. Companies have to meet social, financial and general listing criteria, such as having a social and/or environmental goal as their main focus. All trading will take place online through an established partnership with PhillipCapital Group, the largest brokerage firm in Southeast Asia.
IIX will not be the only marketplace aimed at social enterprises. There is also Social Venture Exchange in Ontario, which links investors with social enterprises and Mission Markets in New York, which aims to build a hub linking stock exchanges globally.