SEC Chair Jay Clayton wants to level the playing field for retail investors

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There is a rush of initial public offerings expected this year, but Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton has a message for those looking to enter the public stock market.

“As a general long-term matter, I feel much better that people are starting to access our capital markets. I do wish that companies were looking to access our public capital markets earlier in their life cycle,” he said in an interview with CNBC’s Bob Pisani on “The Exchange.”

“I like it when growth companies are entering our markets so that our retail investors have an opportunity to participate in the growth,” added Clayton.

More than 200 companies are targeting IPOs this year, with valuations of nearly $700 billion, according to Renaissance Capital.

Uber is the latest big tech firm to jump into the IPO process this year. On Friday, the ride-hailing company set a price range of $44 to $50 per share in an updated filing, valuing the company at between $80.53 billion and $91.51 billion on a fully diluted basis. Pinterest, Zoom and Lyft have already debuted on the public market this year and on Friday, Slack filed papers for its IPO, revealing it has $400 million in revenue and $139 million on losses.

Clayton acknowledges the SEC is considering ways to make the process easier, particularly for smaller companies looking to go public.

“We are looking at whether our one-size-fits-all model for becoming a public company makes sense in an era where you have trillion-dollar companies and $100 million companies,” he said. “It can’t be that one size fits all.”

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Disclosure: Comcast Ventures, the venture arm of Comcast, is an investor in Slack, and NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

— CNBC’s Lauren Feiner contributed to this report.

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