The New Zealand sharemarket has struggled to re-establish its relevance. Today it represents just 30 per cent of GDP compared with 56 per cent 15 years ago. In Australia, the market's proportion of the economy has grown from 68 per cent to 89 per cent over the same period.
But before this year is out, the local market will have three sizeable additions in the form of Fairfax's Trade Me, Telecom's Chorus and Quadrant Private Equity's Summerset.
For comparable listings, investors would need to turn the clock back to the partial flotation of Auckland energy distributor Vector in 2005, and the dual listing of outdoor goods retailer Kathmandu in 2009.
Assuming a National Party-led Government is returned at the election, the partial privatisation of four state-owned enterprises and the selldown of the Government's 79 per cent stake in Air New Zealand look likely.
There is also the prospect of a non-voting Fonterra share next year.
Of course, the NZX stands to benefit from new listings, which add to its bottom line. A new issue worth $500 million brings in $191,000 in initial listing fees, followed by annual fees of $61,000.
At the top end, a $5 billion listing is worth $1 million to the NZX in fees, followed by an annual fee of $91,400.
NZX chief executive Mark Weldon says partly privatising Meridian, Genesis, Solid Energy and Mighty River Power, and the selldown of the Government's 79 per cent stake in Air NZ, will change the "thickness" of the market.
"If you put Trade Me, Chorus, and the Fonterra non-voting share together, and put it with tax changes, savings and the SOE policy together, then you have got an interesting two or three years coming up," he said.
Weldon says the market has suffered over the past 12 to 15 years from what he calls three "macro blockers".
The first has been a tax policy that dramatically favoured land and rental property as an investment choice. Changes to the rules on depreciation have meant rental property is not the "free ride" it oncewas.
"If you look at the tax system, it does not yet favour equity investment, but it is not so negative towards it as it once was," Weldon says.
The second has been savings, or the lack of them. Weldon, and others, have pointed to Australia's successful compulsory pension savings scheme, which has snowballed since its inception in 1993.
"You get the sense that we are getting near that point with KiwiSaver," he says.
The third has been where the country's assets are held.
"While it is true to say that the market has remained relatively flat in terms of the number of listed companies, the Government has been sitting on some very large businesses for a long period oftime."
Weldon has high hopes that the debut of the SOEs will change attitudes towards investing.
"Hopefully hundreds of thousands of Kiwis owning shares in something like Mighty River Power - getting a dividend cheque, seeing that the dividend is higher than they could get from the bank, and seeing the share price go up - that's when you get a generational shift."
But when it comes to SOEs, Weldon concedes that the disastrous privatisation of TranzRail in 1993, which involved the taxpayer later coming to the company's rescue, will still be fresh in investors' memories.
He says there are important lessons to be learned from TranzRail - the first one being that governments should not sell 100 per cent of any one asset.
Companies expected to list on the NZX:
Trade Me: Before end of year