The still relatively new SEC Chair, Jay Clayton, has let it be known that one of his missions is to improve the health of our IPO market and, thereby, to improve our capital markets generally. His minions – including a senior SEC Staff member I recently heard in Washington – have been spreading this gospel according to Jay.
I wish him (and them) luck, but I wonder if the mission is impossible. I’m thinking of some recent articles, including one by the inimitable Andrew Ross Sorkin entitled “Fixing the ‘Brain Damage’ Caused by the I.P.O. Process”, that makes the resuscitation of IPOs seem unlikely. As if the title weren’t off-putting enough, one of the executives quoted in the article described his company’s IPO process as “a way of living in hell without dying”. Not a good start.