Financiers plan to challenge Wall Street with new stock exchange based in Dallas

A sign for New York Stock Exchange is displayed on the floor at the NYSE in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A group of financial firms and investors is planning to launch a Texas-based private market stock exchange and offer traders an alternative to the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

The group, which includes BlackRock, Citadel Securities and about two dozen investors, raised approximately $120 million of capital to create the Texas Stock Exchange, which would be headquartered in Dallas. They are now seeking registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to operate as a national securities exchange later this year.

“Texas and the other states in the southeast quadrant have become economic powerhouses. Combined with the demand we are seeing from investors and corporations for expanded alternatives to trade and list equities, this is an opportune time to build a major, national stock exchange in Texas,” said James Lee, founder and CEO of TXSE Group.

Stock exchanges are private institutions where stocks, bonds and other securities are traded. If the SEC clears TXSE to begin operations, it will be the first stock exchange to launch in the country in recent years.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the creation of the new exchange, TXSE promises to be more CEO-friendly than other exchanges and wants to capitalize on discontent over new rules and rising compliance costs at Nasdaq and NYSE.

“If we look at the three states with the largest economy, New York has two stock exchanges. Texas, comparably to California, is growing economically and demographically really fast, and already has a big number of Fortune 500 biggest companies headquarters, so it makes sense Dallas would be an ideal place,” said Steven Pedigo, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and an expert in economic and urban development.

But it could be difficult for a new exchange to take off in the U.S. listings market, where the Nasdaq and NYSE have dominated for decades. The U.S. exchange business consists of about 16 equities exchanges with NYSE accounting for more than 20% of the volume in equities trading in May and Nasdaq over 15%, according to Bloomberg. Nasdaq acquired the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and Boston Stock Exchange, two of the oldest exchanges in the country, in 2007. The NYSE bought the Chicago Stock Exchange in 2018.

“What makes this project interesting is the big companies that supported and financed the new stock exchange, that is why it could be a serious competitor. But it is a ‘to be continued’ story,” Pedigo said.

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TXSE founders said they chose Texas as the home for the new national securities exchange because of the state’s rapid economic and population growth. Texas has been a leader in attracting business relocations and expansions in recent years. More than 7,200 firms relocated to Texas between 2010 and 2019, creating nearly 103,000 jobs, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Businesses that relocated to Texas mostly went to the state’s major metropolitan areas, with Dallas and Houston being the favored destinations.

Major corporations like Tesla and Toyota have chosen the state as their new home base in recent years. Big financial companies like Goldman Sachs have also made big investments lately in Dallas.

Pedigo said this new stock exchange wouldn’t necessarily lead to more jobs being created in the state but would help further bolster the pro-business image Texas has been working on for years.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.