IPO: What do I need to know about Initial Public Offerings?

Range Certified Financial Planner
Range Certified Financial Planner
March 21, 2024

IPOs, or Initial Public Offerings, are the corporate world's version of hitting the big time, where private companies step into the public spotlight, offering shares to the masses for the first time. It's a pivotal moment, both for the companies looking to raise capital and for investors eager to get in on the ground floor. They become big stories—whether they happen or not. Just ask WeWork.

What should you consider before investing?

But while many investors are drawn to these shiny objects, we wanted to cover what you should consider before making any investment in an IPO. In general, when it comes to understanding the opportunity, it’s much like investing in any company.

  • Do your homework. Understand the company's business model, market potential, and the use of IPO proceeds. Review the prospectus, which is issued once the company files it’s S-1 Registration. Pay attention to the management team and the quality of the underwriters. What direction is the company going in and are you aligned with their vision? An IPO is designed to generate a large influx of funding, so what are they doing with it?
  • Understand the risk. IPOs can be wild rides with initial price surges often followed by sharp declines as the market finds its balance. The lack of historical market data makes IPOs unpredictable and sometimes, disappointing. When you invest in established blue chip stocks, it’s less likely you’ll have wild short term swings. With an IPO, the value can often sharply go up or down, or both. Buckle up.
  • Short-term vs long-term. Consider whether you're in it for a quick flip or a long-term hold. Both come with their own upsides and downsides and the results are hard to predict.

How have Initial Public Offerings performed?

Historically, IPOs have been a mixed bag. While some debut with blockbuster opening days, then level off, others shoot up and then fizzle out. One approach (and this is not fool-proof) is to keep an eye on market sentiments and sectors in vogue for hints on which way it might go. Tech, healthcare, and green energy have seen notable IPO activities in recent years, but for every rocketship, there has been an anchor.

In Conclusion

Before jumping into an IPO investment, remember, it's not just about being early; it's about being smart and calculating the risk involved into your overall risk profile. Analyze, research, and maybe even wait out the initial frenzy to make informed decisions. After all, in the IPO game, patience can sometimes be the most lucrative strategy.

As always, any investment involves risk, so we would recommend you connect with the team at Range before making any substantial investment in an IPO.

Related Content:

How should I be thinking about a modern investment philosophy?

What is your investment risk profile, and what does it mean?

What is ESG Investing? And should you consider ESG funds or ETFs?

Book a Demo
Explore More