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Nasdaq CEO warns that job growth and wealth creation could be stifled if more companies don't go public

  • Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman put out a blueprint for structural market reforms to prod more companies to go public.
  • "If we don't have these companies go public, it could really ultimately limit the jobs that they're able to create and the growth they're able to achieve," she says.

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman said Thursday more private companies should go public in order to jump-start job and wealth creation.

Friedman put out a blueprint for the plan, arguing that public markets such as the Nasdaq provide companies more opportunities to grow their businesses.

"We have the Nasdaq private market," Friedman said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "But we also want to make sure that every investor has an opportunity to ultimately join in growth and the success of these great companies that we have that have been formed in the United States."

The Nasdaq's action plan included a chart of five top tech companies — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google-parent Alphabet and Facebook — and how much they've grown since their initial public offerings.

Citing 2011 report from the Treasury's IPO task force, Friedman said that since 2000, 76 percent of job creation occurred after a company goes public. "If we don't have these companies go public, it could really ultimately limit the jobs that they're able to create and the growth they're able to achieve," she argued.

While Snapchat-parent Snap went public this year, many other so-called unicorns — companies valued at $1 billion or more — remain private, including Uber, Airbnb and SpaceX.

Friedman, who highlighted the Nasdaq's plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday, cited three action items to help nudge companies off the fence: Modernize the market structure; reconstruct the regulatory framework; and promote long-term thinking over bending to short-term pressures from investors.

Regulations need to be streamlined to incentivize companies to go public, she said.

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