IPO Investment Tips and Strategies: How to Invest in Newly Listed Companies

October 3, 2023

IPOs have always been popular among investors, as they have lower prices to attract public interest. Therefore, IPO stock has the potential to yield high returns. Unlike investing in fundamentally strong companies leading to stable gains, IPOs will not necessarily ensure the same income. 

Understanding IPOs & IPO investment strategy

The process during which a private company becomes a public company by selling its shares to the public is called an initial public offering (IPO). When this happens, a company lists its shares on a stock exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the Nasdaq Stock Market. Companies often use IPOs to raise capital for future growth, expansion, or acquisitions. IPO can also be used to cash out early investors or establish equity and give employees a stake in the company.

An investment bank that acts as the underwriter typically manages the IPO process. It is responsible for setting the initial price of the shares and for marketing and selling the IPO to investors. Once an IPO is complete, the company's shares are traded on the stock exchange and can be bought and sold by any individual investor.

But not only individual investors buy IPO shares. Mutual funds can also invest in newly public IPOs. Additionally, they often have access to IPOs that are unavailable to individual investors. This is because mutual funds typically have large investment teams and relationships with banks that underwrite IPOs. 

So, participating in an IPO means taking part in the process of a private company becoming publicly traded by purchasing its shares when they are first offered to the public on a stock exchange. IPOs are a good way to become a shareholder of new and innovative companies and potentially generate high returns. Though IPO is lucrative but also carries risks, so it's crucial to understand some moments.

Research and Due Diligence

Before investing in any IPO, do your research on the company. First and foremost, investors read the prospectus. Before the company goes public, it releases a red herring prospectus, a preliminary document filed by a company with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It includes all the necessary information you need, except the final price of the offered securities or their amount. In addition to the prospectus, brokers need to focus on studying the company's financial statements, business model, competitive landscape, growth prospects, and management team. It would also be useful to analyze the underwriters involved in the IPO. Their reputation and track record can be indicators of the IPO's quality.

Valuation Analysis

Assess whether the IPO's valuation is reasonable. And don’t forget to compare the IPO offering price to key financial metrics like price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, price-to-sales (P/S) ratio, and price-to-book (P/B) ratio. 

Timing Considerations

Keep track of the IPO timeline, including the expected date of the offering on the open market. Take note of IPO any lock-up periods during which insiders and early investors are restricted from selling their shares. The expiration of IPO lock-up periods will significantly impact the stock's price.

IPO and Position Sizing

Decide how much capital to allocate to the IPO investment. Before investing in IPOs, ensure that the investment size aligns with your overall portfolio diversification and risk management strategy.

IPO Allocation Methods

Explore in detail eligibility criteria and requirements before accessing the IPO shares. Retail investors can usually apply for shares through their brokerage accounts, while institutional investors may have a different process.

Navigating the stages of the IPO process: from issuing a prospectus to executing on the stock market

Let’s analyze the IPO process:

  1. Engaging an investment bank. The first step in the IPO process is to engage an institution that will underwrite the IPO, meaning it will be responsible for marketing and selling the company's shares to investors.
  2. Preparing the IPO prospectus. As you already know, it is a document that provides investors with detailed information about the company and the IPO.
  3. Marketing the IPO. Once the IPO prospectus has been filed with the SEC, the chosen organization will begin marketing the IPO to investors, hold roadshows, and meet with potential investors to generate interest in the IPO.
  4. Setting the IPO price. It is set by the company and the underwriter, considering several factors, such as the company's financial performance, its growth prospects, and the overall market conditions.
  5. Executing the IPO. Once the IPO price has been set, it will be executed. The company's shares will be sold to investors through the underwriter.
  6. Listing the shares on a stock exchange. After executing, the company's shares will be listed on a stock exchange and available for trading by the public.

Overall, the IPO process is complex and time-consuming, but it can be a rewarding way for companies to raise capital and expand their business.

Additional tips and strategies for investing in an IPO 

These are only general recommendations, as there is no one-size-fits-all IPO strategy. Here are some additional suggestions that will help with investing in IPOs:

  • Be selective. Not all IPOs are created equal, so avoid chasing every IPO that hits the market. Be discerning and focus on companies that align with your investment goals and risk tolerance.
  • Have an exit strategy. Better have an exit strategy in place before investing in any IPO. Decide at what share price you will sell your IPOs, and set a stop-loss order to protect your profits, or limit your losses.
  • Avoid herd mentality. Don't invest in an IPO just because it's popular, hyped in the media or one well-known investor chose it. You don't know what insider information this particular investor may have, so make decisions based on your own research and analysis.

Remember that investing in IPOs both ensure high growth and involve serious risks. It's crucial to conduct thorough research, stay informed, and be ready to adjust your strategy as market conditions and company fundamentals evolve. Think thoroughly before investing in IPOs and if you do, make sure it aligns with your overall financial goals and risk tolerance.

There is no such thing as the best IPO, as all investments carry risk, and IPOs are no exception.