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Nasdaq CEO: US markets should keep 'doors open' to foreign listings

Max Zahn
Reporter

Many battles have come and gone in the U.S.-China trade war — but their effects may linger.

At a particularly tense moment in the spat, back in September, President Donald Trump considered delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges. In a newly released interview, Nasdaq (NDAQ) President and CEO Adena Friedman rebuked the idea, saying it would hurt the United States and favor markets abroad.

“In our opinion, it's in the U.S.'s interest to keep those doors open,” says Friedman, who has run one of the largest stock exchanges in the world since 2017. “There are other exchanges out there in the world that could also be the home to international listings.”

“For us to be the place where companies from all over the world, whether it's from China or Israel or Southeast Asia or Europe, for them to congregate here in the United States is in the U.S. economy's best interests in order to make sure that we stay that land of opportunity,” she told Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on Nov. 11.

Chinese companies have increasingly sought to list on the Nasdaq due to its flexible listing rules. Last year, 33 Chinese companies went public in the U.S., hitting an eight-year high, as reported by Yahoo Finance’s Krystal Hu. When news of the Trump administration’s potential effort to delist Chinese companies broke on Sept. 27, shares of major stock exchanges fell, including a 1.7% drop for Nasdaq.

“The U.S. capital markets are the deepest and most liquid markets in the world,” Friedman says. “The reason for that is because we are the land of opportunity for companies both domiciled here in the United States, but also domiciled anywhere in the world to get access to capital.”

Friedman made the comments during a conversation that aired in an episode of Yahoo Finance’s “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment. 

An intern at Nasdaq in 1993, Friedman became the company’s chief executive nearly a quarter century later, in 2017. Besides a brief period as chief financial officer at the Carlyle Group from 2011 to 2014, she has spent her entire career at Nasdaq. Last year, Forbes ranked her the sixteenth most powerful woman alive. 

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman appears on Influencers with Andy Serwer.

At the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit, in October, Friedman called it “good news” that the Trump administration said limiting Chinese IPOs had been taken off the table, Hu reported.

In October, Friedman similarly criticized U.S. proposals to delist Chinese companies as counterproductive.

“If Chinese companies are no longer able to access U.S. markets, you know, their opportunity would be to go to London or to go to Hong Kong, so they do have other avenues, or to list in China,” she said. “So, we have to look at it as it's in our interest and our economic interest to keep our markets open.”

In recent months, Chinese companies have continued to go public or file for IPOs on U.S. markets, among them e-learning company Youdao (DAO) and online insurance provider Huize Holding.

“The role of the U.S. capital markets is to give millions and millions and millions of investors access to great companies from around the world,” Friedman says.

Max Zahn is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Find him on twitter @MaxZahn_.

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