05.13.2022
By Anna Lyudvig, Traders Magazine

Instinet Positive Change Visionary Award: Shari Noonan

05.13.2022 By Anna Lyudvig, Traders Magazine

Shari Noonan, Rialto Markets’ CEO & Co-Founder, won Instinet Positive Change Visionary Award at the 2022 Markets Choice Awards.

Noonan said this is truly a team effort and Rialto Markets would not be where it is today without their efforts. “It is a huge honor for me, my Co-founders, and the rest of our excellent Rialto Markets team,” Noonan told Traders Magazine.

Shari Noonan, Rialto Markets

“I am especially humbled when I see some of the names of previous Markets Choice Award winners,” she added,

Rialto Markets is a FINRA member broker-dealer that empowers companies in their private markets capital raises via self-hosted solutions across all private markets.

The company also operates an Alternative Trading System (ATS) for secondary trading across private markets. “We believe that the growth in the digitization of private markets will lead to opportunities in secondary trading that were previously unavailable. We are able to handle digital as well as traditional securities on our ATS,” commented Noonan.

Noonan has had more than 20 years of experience in electronic trading within the financial services industry, much of it on Wall Street where she was building and scaling operations and product development with Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Instinet and was instrumental in the electronification of equities in the public markets. “I’m now doing the same for private securities with our secondary market ATS,” she said.

Once she started looking beyond public markets into other sectors, she quickly learned of the obstacles faced by high growth private company issuers and investors in the private placement market, which inspired her to co-found Rialto Markets.

“My time on Wall Street with my Co-founders Joel Steinmetz and Rob Noonan highlighted difficulties faced by high growth private company issuers and investors in the private securities market – the JOBS Act then offered the chance to address these,” she explained.

Noonan added that they had also made excellent contacts with like-minded and “fantastically talented” people, who shared their vision and were willing to leave high level jobs on Wall Street and get on board with Rialto Markets, a start up where they have leveraged that “comprehensive and collective experience to bring mass efficiency to inefficient private markets”.

“We chose the name Rialto Markets, because the Rialto Bridge was the financial hub at the rise of the medieval Venice city state – we’d like to think our company will make that mark in the post-JOBS Act era,” she said.

“I’m excited to be part of this nascent market that is just beginning to shift,” she added.

Noonan said that Rialto Markets has advised and supported many talented and ground-breaking companies who have conducted highly successful crowdfunding raises. “In the same week as the awards, the electric vehicle company ATLIS motor vehicles revealed that it would seek to go public in the summer – we helped ATLIS raise $30 million in crowdfunding,” she revealed.

“We also advised the Digital Twin pioneer, Cityzenith, on its crowdfunding path as it seeks to use its futuristic tech to help real estate owners and even whole cities cut their carbon emissions and running costs dramatically,” she added.

According to Noonan, Rialto Markets has also built one of the first secondary market ATS platforms to enable share dealing in a burgeoning private securities market, which Forbes recently forecast would hit a record $7trn this year and grow to a staggering $30trn by 2030.

“An important feature of our ATS is that all investors can access it directly without going through a broker intermediary further reducing friction and costs for the investor,” she shared.

Noonan further said that Rialto Markets has a “real momentum now”, forging trading partnerships and picking up many new client companies.

“We are currently actively raising some $250m through crowdfunding and other opportunities, for 23 companies.

We have also just passed the billion-dollar milestone for our pipeline of signed contracts,” she said.

Noonan said that their ATS took more than two years of working closely with FINRA and the SEC to reach their exacting standards.

“It also explains why our platform is a rarity and why so many people are now talking to us about licensing our trading technology,” she said.

When asked about her vision for the future of the company, Noonan said that it is to make private markets truly accessible to the public – and to grow the opportunities for private company issuers, investors, and the ecosystem.

“We aim to bring the opaque private markets mainstream with transparency essential for all to participate,” she concluded.

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