Bob Greifeld: Navigating Nasdaq’s Future

The year is 2003. You’re taking the helm at the world’s first electronic stock market, which, until relatively recently, was owned and operated by a regulatory organization but is now its own publicly traded entity.

Despite these hiccups, under Greifeld’s tenure, Nasdaq ultimately went from running one U.S.-based equity market to owning and operating 26 global markets for trading stocks, bonds, derivatives and commodities. In addition to steering the OMX deal, he led the acquisitions of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, the Boston Stock Exchange and Europe’s Nord Pool, among others. Nasdaq now supports more than 80 exchanges, which rely on its technology to operate local markets; and it has developed a robust corporate-solutions arm, which focuses on helping private companies navigate the IPO process and transition to life as a public company.

“We have the ability to interact with our listed companies in a multitude of ways to help them with the difficult transition of becoming public companies,” says Greifeld, who notes that the corporate-solutions business and market-technology exchanges currently bring in $550 million and are continuing to grow. “Our corporate-solutions business has products and services to make sure to assist with every piece of activity you have to undertake as a public company.”

Having suffered through a post-financial-downturn dearth of IPO activity, Nasdaq is also now enjoying the fruits of an IPO renaissance. In 2008, the total number of new listings fell to an abysmal 58, of which Nasdaq only netted 25. However, IPO activity has been on an upswing in recent years, with 243 companies going public in 2013, 126 of those on Nasdaq.

Today, Nasdaq’s stock price is $42.89, significantly up from its 2003 price of $8.10, and Greifeld is optimistic about Nasdaq’s future. “We’re No. 1 and No. 2 in the space we compete in for 90 percent of our revenue, so we’re in a position of strength,” he says. “We have a pretty clear strategic direction in each of our businesses, so at the end of the day, it comes down to making sure that we execute well.”


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