Member exchanges of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) have long recognised the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the economies in which they operate. To support the growth and development of these firms, many stock exchanges have established dedicated SME markets or trading segments that cater for the specificities of these companies. The term “SME market” is used as a catch-all phrase to describe a dedicated platform, market segment or exchange with differentiated requirements typically aimed at smaller, sometimes younger firms. While these markets share many common features, there are also large differences.

The WFE collaborated with the World Bank in 2015 and 2016 to highlight stock exchange activity in this area. These papers identified points of commonality and difference in approaches to SME markets, with the intention of providing policymakers and market operators with insights into key aspects to be considered when designing these types of markets. This report (and the ancillary database: WFESME Markets – Key Datapoints) builds on this previous research in the following ways:

  • It looks at a broader universe of WFE member exchange offerings, rather than focusing on a few markets.
  • It uses updated (as at end 2017) data and information to profile the range of SME markets across the WFE membership.
  • It showcases recent innovations in exchange-supported SME finance offerings, beyond traditional equity markets.

This report is based on quantitative and qualitative information of 33 SME markets (3 in the Americas, 14 in the Asia-Pacific region and 16 in EMEA) at 29 exchanges across the globe. The full set of contributing markets and the associated platforms is set out in Annex A. For purposes of this report, we use the term “SME” to refer to companies listed on these dedicated markets. As discussed in more detail later, market definitions of SMEs (where these exist) differ, and what may be an SME in one market, may be a large company in another.