By Tom Bradley

Toronto Stock Exchange runs print ads every six months to celebrate/welcome their new listings. I find it informative to see the mix of businesses that are going public. Certainly, it’s changed significantly from the early days of my career. This month’s ad illustrates what I mean.

Of the 54 new listings on the TSX, there are 10 businesses that actually make things - 7 resource companies, 2 tech firms and a snowmobile manufacturer.

I would categorize the other 44 as ‘packages of existing securities’. There are 20 new ETFs (Longest name – First Trust AlphaDEX Emerging Market Dividend ETF - CAD-Hedged), 10 REITS (Best name – DREAM Unlimited Corp.) and 14 Structured Products (don’t ask).

I find the ad to be quite discouraging to say the least. I say that because:

  • The slicing/dicing, leveraging, hedging, packaging and re-packaging of stocks and bonds continues unabated.
  • The ratio of 10 real businesses to 44 investment vehicles reminds me that financial services is an ever growing part of our economy (it’s a significantly bigger piece of the pie than it was in the early 1980’s when I started).
  • The new REITs are a reminder of how equally dominant the real estate industry is, and how dependent we are on it.

But more than anything, the ad hits home how desperately we need more people and companies to make things and create non-financial/non-real estate jobs.