On a typical day, the ASX will clear more than 1.5 million equity trades, with a total transaction value of around $6 billion.

And while the majority of activity may take place among ASX200 companies, the composition of the exchange itself tells an interesting story.

Of the more than 2,000 companies listed, 80 per cent of them have a market cap of less than $500m — a common metric used to define small-cap stocks.

To help foster that growing ecosystem, the ASX yesterday held its 2019 Small and Mid-Cap Conference at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

Stockhead spoke with Max Cunningham, the ASX’s general manager of listings, who said the conference provided an opportunity for companies to present their value proposition in what could be a crowded market.

“There’s some really interesting companies in the space, but when you’ve got high numbers it can be a challenge to get their voices heard,” he said.

“So for these companies here today it’s an opportunity for them to get their story out into the marketplace.”

Twenty five ASX small-caps presented at the conference, and the forum provided a platform for the CEOs to speak directly about the outlook for their business.

“Importantly, it’s not a recommendation — but it’s a chance for people to hear the story for a particular business in management’s own words,” Cunningham said.

The companies operated in a cross-section of different industries spanning resources, fintech, healthcare and micro-caps (stocks with a market cap below $30m).

More than 500 retail investors, brokers and fund managers were in attendance, while another 750 investors tuned in to stream the conference online.

And Cunningham said the feedback from companies was positive, which in addition to presenting had the opportunity to engage directly with individual investors.

“One of the things that’s unique about Australia is we have one of the biggest networks of retail shareholders,” Cunningham noted.

“Globally, the ASX has the highest proportion of retail investors as a percentage of the total ownership pool. So we help service a large range in that category, from young investors at university age through to self-managed super funds.”

Ultimately, Cunningham said the exchange remained committed to providing a secure and liquid platform to help listed small-caps run and grow their business.

“We’d like to see these companies develop their business model, grow their company on the ASX and improve their liquidity — so that’s the goal,” he said.