An Introduction to Equity Markets

The Equity Markets Association (“EMA” or “Association”) was created in 2015 to provide policy makers, regulators and investors with in depth analysis on important issues that impact the U.S. equity markets. Its founders, Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. and NASDAQ, believe in a fair and transparent market place that incentivizes capital formation and a robust secondary market for trading securities.

The Association was created in response to the void of regular and consistent viewpoints from exchanges on issues that impact the nation’s capital markets. Consequently, the founding exchanges intention is for the Association to assist policy makers by providing periodic summary and research papers on specific topics impacting investors, issuers and equity market intermediaries, such as proxy governance, corporate and investor disclosures, and equity market structure. In addition, the Association will work to coordinate industry initiatives and discussions regarding topics such as coordination among markets during natural disasters and cybersecurity threats to financial markets. 

This paper starts with a high level overview of the role the U.S. equity market plays in our broader economy, followed by an explanation of the different market participants that operate within the equity markets, and closes with a summary of the current market structure issues at the forefront of any market structure discussions.

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