Texas fundraises for its own ‘anti-woke’ stock exchange to take on NYSE and Nasdaq

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New York might be the financial center of the universe, but Texas is hoping to chip away at that title.

Fundraising is underway for a new national stock exchange that will be based in Dallas—and BlackRock and Citadel Securities are already on board, reports the Wall Street Journal. The new market, which hopes to begin trading next year and list its first stock in 2026, is meant to be an alternative to the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq and avoid certain rules of those entities, including board diversity targets at Nasdaq.

While the Texas Stock Exchange will be apolitical, its CEO says, it does aim to be CEO-friendly and certainly favors some anti-woke philosophies. Citadel’s Ken Griffin has been a vocal critic of so-called “woke ideology,” calling it “soul-crushing.” BlackRock’s Larry Fink, though, has himself been a target of conservative activists who oppose the company’s push for more diverse boardrooms and increased focus on climate change.

The new exchange plans to have a physical presence in Dallas, but will handle all of its trading electronically. It has raised $120 million so far from investment firms and retail investors and expects to file its registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission later this year. It comes as more companies, including Tesla, consider a move to Texas, which has more favorable tax rates and regulatory policies than many states. The state currently holds the second-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, behind California.

The Texas Stock Exchange, if it materializes, won’t be the first upstart financial center, but it will face many of the same challenges others have faced. The NYSE and Nasdaq are the dominant forces in the financial world, and many attempts to unseat them have fallen short. One, which received SEC approval in 2019, has only attracted two listings to date.

Two years ago, backers launched an anti-woke bank in Texas. That lasted just three months before shutting down.

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