Meeting with Christian Frampton, founding member & CEO of Swiss Financiers
Who are you, Christian Frampton?
I am 54 years old, married and father of 3 children. I have an international background, as I was born in the USA to an English father and a Swiss mother. I have lived in all three countries.
Why did you choose, after a remarkable career that took you to the highest level in renowned banks, to devote yourself to Swiss Financiers, which orchestrates the companies’ transition from private to public markets?
At heart, I am an entrepreneur and a creative person. It seemed to me that in my past careers, I failed to accompany the kind of people who really interested me. That is, people who take risks, who invent, who have a vision. When I understood the business model of Swiss Financiers, through which we seek to democratize access to the capital market and to popularize the process to support companies that did not think they were able to take this path, I found this to be an ideal new challenge for my personal and professional development at this point in my career
In recent months, we have heard a lot of talk about a major recession and unprecedented contractions in the markets, especially in the stock markets. What is your personal opinion on this?
Alas, I have a very pessimistic view of the future. I think recession is inevitable and will be accentuated by growing geopolitical tensions. What we see today in Europe is probably only the beginning of what lies ahead, certainly in Southeast Asia, with for example the growing tensions between China and Taiwan. The Pax Americana, post-World War II model in which the United States, the great planetary financier, which remains in a certain way the policeman of the world, dictating the tone and providing governance, is currently being tested. More and more non-aligned countries are seeking to move away from the dollar and the West and to create new paths, thus increasing global uncertainties. A paradigm is being fractured.
Given the overall market situation and the significant uncertainties linked to an unstable economic environment, what are, in your opinion, the new trends that investors should take into account when it comes to investing their capital?
There is something extremely attractive in the process of bringing a private company to the public markets. The way of evaluating a company through this shift changes profoundly and access to its capital is becoming open to all. Business needs and creativity are two elements that, a priori, will never die out. There will therefore always be a demand in this area, possibly less strong than in the past, but still present. The sectors linked to tomorrow’s economy, that of sustainability and business that limits and manages impacts, will do well. Any company resolutely turned towards the future and open to economic and societal changes has a place in this process.
Don’t you think that public markets will gradually lose their attractiveness for private companies?
No. Their attractiveness will perhaps erode somewhat in favor of new markets that will be set up (digital, unregulated, etc.), but dethroning the extraordinary efficiency of public markets, particularly the American markets, will take a lot of time.
Why would you say that the investor of tomorrow is necessarily a visionary?
On a global level, when it comes to the market, there is a systematic rotation of interest: what was buoyant for a while can become obsolete very quickly. When the business model of an emerging company seems to be followed by other companies, then we are witnessing the probable advent of a trend. Currently, I would say that one of the major orientations for societies of tomorrow is to anchor their policies at the heart of planetary paradigm shifts. It is no longer profit above all else, it is responsible profit: something must be brought to people and the planet, compatible with new ways of living that are more conscious, more sustainable and more equitable.
When you choose to take a stake in an early-stage company, you have to have a certain vision. These are often start-ups that do not have a long history allowing us to look to the past to ensure the future. Consequently, you have to be able to identify how they are promising, what market share they will be able to occupy, how they will meet needs that the market itself does not yet know!
In your opinion, what are the main advantages for a company to enter the public market?
The benefits are countless. First of all, undeniably, the public market allows investors to be liquid, unlike private equity, which essentially constitutes an immobilization of assets. Then, it is not necessary to be in direct contact with potential investors, which is a considerable saving of time and energy. There is also a real amplification of the impact and potential attractiveness of the company, adequate marketing generally sufficient to generate new shareholders. The listing being subject to strict rules, it gives a certain confidence to the investors, who have a much better visibility on the way in which their funds are used within the structure. There are of course constraints, for example the need to draw up a quarterly report, which can certainly be perceived as time-consuming, but ultimately turns out to be rather advantageous for the health of the company, also allowing investors to take the pulse of the business in real time.
What is the question that no one ever asks you that you would like to answer?
I love this question. I’d like to be asked why companies don’t choose a listing more often than get stuck in private equity funds, and what is the advantage of a listing over a trade sale.
And what is the answer?
When a company goes from private to public, it is the birth of the price-earnings ratio, the advent of another configuration. Guaranteed access to much more capital, from sources as vast as they are varied. It’s amazing when you think about it. Anyone can invest in your business: from individuals to institutions, including the largest global funds. When a company goes public, it sells a lot of what I like to call the “what if scenario”, which consists of anticipating how it will develop, what market shares it will be able to occupy. In the end, the public market does not rely solely on accounting results, it likes to buy hope. It is truly a forward-looking vision.
Discover new investing trends! Ask for your seat or remote attendance to our next Pre-IPO roadshow, on November 29th at 4PM in NY, broadcasted on Zoom at the same time :