NOVATO -- In what the company's chief executive called a "significant milestone," Novato-based investment management and mutual fund firm Hennessy Advisors, Inc., on Monday began listing its shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol "HNNA."

The company has been publicly traded in the over-the-counter market since 2002, and expects that the move of its shares to the Nasdaq is likely to improve liquidity for investors and boost the stock's visibility and accessibility for institutional investors, said CEO Neil Hennessy.

"We just wanted to wait until we grew up a bit (before) we went to the Nasdaq," said Mr. Hennessy, also president and chairman. He noted how the move would broaden the stock's availability: "There are a lot of investment funds, endowments -- they can only invest in Nasdaq or above."

Shares in Hennessy Advisors were trading at $12.73 at 10:40 a.m. Pacific Time, up 2.6 percent since the company's listing on the Nasdaq.

Hennessy grew its assets under management around three-fold after a major acquisition in October 2012, and most recently reported $4.48 billion under management. The company has increased its dividend six times since it began paying a dividend to shareholders in 2005, and paid 4 cents per share to shareholders on March 10.

Earnings for the three-month period ended Dec. 31 were equivalent to 25 cents per share. The company earned 83 cents per share in fiscal 2013, which ended Sept. 30, 2013.