IPO Considerations

An Initial Public Offering, or IPO, is defined as the first sale of stock by a company to the public. As IB generally does not operate as an underwriter or selling agent of IPO shares, the first opportunity customers have to transact in such shares does not take place until the issue begins trading in the secondary market.  Outlined below are key issues which customers should consider when transacting in shares on their first day of listing:


1. Margin

As IPOs are inherently subject to a high degree of uncertainty as to price and liquidity once secondary market trading begins, each new issue is subject to a review to determine whether initial and maintenance margin requirements above the minimum which is required by regulation is warranted. Current margin information is made available through the "Check Margin" feature on the trading platform. Customers should also note that IB reserves the right to change margin on an intraday basis and without advance notice when warranted.


2. Order Entry

IB monitors for upcoming IPOs and makes every effort to provide customers the ability to enter orders in advance of the day at which trading begins in the secondary market.  In certain circumstances, either IB and/or the exchange may impose restrictions on the type of orders which may be accepted as well as the time in force conditions associated with such orders.  It should also be noted that orders not direct-routed to the primary exchange may be subject to special auction handling and therefore may receive a different opening print from that of the primary exchange.  In addition, as the price at which the issue trades once available in the secondary market may differ significantly from the IPO price, customers are strongly encouraged to use limit orders when.


3. Short Availability

Customers should assume that IPO issues will not be available for shorting immediately upon trading in the secondary market. This limitation is a function of regulations which require the broker to locate and make a good faith determination that shares are available to borrow at settlement coupled with the likelihood that such shares will not be available (due to underwriter lending restrictions and the fact that secondary market transactions have not yet settled).