Private investors shut out as Oxford Nanopore soars on float
Campaigners calling for retail investors to be allowed to buy shares in firms listing on the UK stock market say it is a ‘travesty’ that investors missed out on Thursday’s debut of Oxford Nanopore.
The company, a provider of rapid Covid-19 tests, saw its share price jump by more than 40 per cent on the first day of trading – from £4.25 to £6.12 – with the shares opening on Friday at £6.26 before falling back at the close to £6.15. But retail investors were excluded from the ‘initial public offering’ (IPO) – with shares initially only available to big financial institutions.
‘Travesty’: Retail investors were excluded from the ‘initial public offering’ – with shares initially only available to big financial institutions
On Friday, Mike Coombes of PrimaryBid, a technology platform that helps investors access IPOs, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Nanopore’s story is an inspiring one – a British success – and we had hoped the public would have been allowed to take part in its IPO. It’s the blue-ribbon IPO of the year. But private investors continue to be shut out of the country’s most valuable and exciting stock market flotations.’
His view is shared by Cliff Weight, a director of retail investor campaigning group ShareSoc. He says it is ‘disgraceful’ that small investors are being prevented from benefiting fully from successful debuts on the London Stock Exchange. He adds: ‘There are many sophisticated investors who understand the risks of investing in IPOs, but who want to invest in the best of them. They should not be excluded.’
The Government wants to encourage wider participation in the listing of new firms, and has sought views on how the IPO process can be made more retail investor-friendly. But legislation is unlikely until next year at the earliest.
Oxford Nanopore’s successful debut is an acute embarrassment for Link, the company that ordered the break-up of investment fund Woodford Equity Income in late 2019. It sold the fund’s stake in Oxford Nanopore at a tenth of the price it would now command.