Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending my Eighth Rice Alliance Kick off Celebration over at the Jones School at Rice University. Each year Brad Burke and the staff of Rice Alliance do a wonderful job with these emerging business community collaboration events. Brad, you and your staff deserve a well round of thanks for such a fantastic evening! Over 450 people attended this event including several of my colleagues from PKF Texas.
The keynote speaker for the evening was the Honorable Michael G. Oxley (the former congressman from Ohio) who co-authored the Sarbanes-Oxley Act while he was Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. It’s not often we get the opportunity to meet and ask questions of such an important person that has influence on the capital markets and the confidence of public investing. When you do, you want to take advantage of them to gain their perspective on the US and World Economy.
Mr. Oxley is currently the Vice Chair of The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. In this capacity he serves as an advisor to the Executive Management Team and Board. Thanks to the Rice Alliance and the NASDAQ for co-hosting the event. I also want to say thanks to Locke Liddell & Sapp for being the co-event sponsor with PKF Texas.
Mr. Oxley opened his remarks with several kudos and recognition of the Rice Alliance and its impact on emerging business, start-up companies, and the Rice Business Plan Competition. A strong proponent of seeing emerging businesses grow into successful companies, Mr. Oxley gave due recognition to the Rice University and the Houston business community.
Some facts that he shared with the audience:
- Texas is the 5th largest state of with companies on the NASDAQ. (OK that’s something we need to work on for sure! Texas should be 1, 2, or 3)
- The 161 Texas companies on the NASDAQ have a $144 billion market capitalization.
- A little over a 1/3 of the Texas companies are Houston based.
As he continued his remarks he made mention of some interesting points or his keys to success for public companies in today’s world. Those included companies that are have attributes towards:
- Public Awareness working out in the open, and seeking public support.
- Transparency in the business, their model
- Competatitive in the nature of the business
- Global in their thinking
Some US companies today compete against foreign entities that are supported wholly or in some partial way by their own governments. Even though many global entities outside the US are attractive investment opportunities, Mr. Oxley commented that the US still has the largest pool of private equity capital in the world. Mr. Oxley presented his views on the local economy, the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in the US capital markets, and what he sees coming in the future with more globalized business opportunities. After his prepared remarks, he took questions from the audience for about 25 minutes. Some of the questions where pretty direct on the impact of government regulation and he did a good job of expressing his thoughts on these areas.
Thanks again to the Rice Alliance and thank you Mr. Oxley for sharing your evening with us! By the way you look great it that Cowboy Hat. I hope you wear it often and think of us here in Houston at the Rice Alliance.