PrimaryBid expands IPO platform to French retail investors

The UK-based fintech, which provides individual investors early access to IPOs, partnered with European stock exchange Euronext to launch its service in France, per its press release. Retail investors typically can’t access IPOs before they start trading on the stock markets—less than a third of UK IPOs in 2020 included a retail offering. This is PrimaryBid’s second partnership, having first integrated with the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2019.

The expansion lets PrimaryBid recreate its UK success in France—and later across Europe. PrimaryBid has opened access to 140 IPOs in the UK, including for 12,000 retail investors in PensionBee and 70,000 in Deliveroo. PrimaryBid can now cater to eager French retail investors who have increasingly invested in listed shares throughout the pandemic, per its press release. PrimaryBid lets them buy shares potentially at a discount; share prices often surge after being listed on a market. The fintech could also expand its offering to the other European countries where Euronext operates, like the Netherlands.

Early access to IPOs is becoming the next must-have feature among retail investment platforms, but they should ensure users understand the potential dangers.

  • Other investing apps are launching similar offerings to attract retail investors. Just a day after PrimaryBid’s press release, UK equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube also announced it will launch an IPO investing platform. Robinhood unveiled its IPO Access platform last week, and SoFi also launched a similar service earlier this year. And with the record-breaking pace of IPO listings this year showing no signs of slowing down, it’s likely many retail investors will be eager to use these new features to capitalize.
  • But IPOs can be highly risky investments, as it is difficult to predict how the market will react. Deliveroo, for example, suffered a sharp slump right after it began trading that hammered thousands of retail investors because of conditional trading restrictions that kept them locked in for a week. Investment apps like Robinhood already face regulators’ and some users’ ire over their gamified interfaces that may downplay the risks of investing. IPO pricing, meanwhile, is often opaque, making it challenging for inexperienced investors to tell whether they’re getting in on a promising company or just buying hype. These apps should therefore ensure they combine the new IPO investing features with adequate educational tools and customer support.

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