NYSE’s Cunningham Sees Heightened Scrutiny of SPACs on Horizon

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New York Stock Exchange President Stacey Cunningham said special purpose acquisition companies can expect increased regulation and calls for transparency amid heightened scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“It makes a lot of sense for the SEC to look at whether or not there are additional protections and additional disclosures that might be appropriate in this market,” Cunningham said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “It’s going to be really important that SPACs are providing information and transparency into how they’re structured so investors have that visibility.”

NYSE’s Cunningham Sees Heightened Scrutiny of SPACs on Horizon

Her comments follow remarks this week by SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who raised questions about SPACs and their levels of disclosure. Gensler said he wants to make sure mom and pop investors don’t lose out to larger, more sophisticated players when they’re putting their money in SPACs. In May, he said he was concerned about whether retail investors are protected and “getting the appropriate and accurate information they need.”

Markets in the U.S. are strong because they tend to have disclosures that protect investors, Cunningham said. “That’s where we’re going to see some advancement in this SPAC space as they become such a popular way to go public,” she said.

SPACs, also known as blank-check companies, are corporate shells that raise money from investors with the aim of merging with private businesses to take them public. SPACs became popular in 2020, and the trend has continued. This year, more than 560 SPACs seeking to raise a combined $157 billion have filed for initial public offerings, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“We’re continuing to see companies tap into the public markets,” Cunningham said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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