Advance/Decline Line: Definition, Formula, Examples

Advance/Decline Line: Definition, Formula, Examples

The Advance/Decline line, or A/D line, is a technical stock market indicator used by traders to measure the overall health of the stock market. This measurement tells market participants whether there are more stocks rising or falling on a trading day, and whether a majority of stocks are pushing the market in either direction.

For traders who are looking for greater insight into market trend analysis, the A/D line may be a suitable indicator to help determine where the market is trending, how strong that trend is, and the direction the market could be going in the short-term.

What Is the Advance/Decline Line (A/D)?

The advance/decline line (A/D) is a market indicator that traders use during stock technical analysis to estimate the breadth, or the overall strength or weakness of the stock market. The A/D line monitors how many stocks are currently trading above or below the previous day’s close. Traders may follow these changes over time to try to forecast the direction of the market.

In a particular index, like the S&P 500, Nasdaq, or Dow Jones Industrial Average, stocks go up and down. But just because some stocks move in one direction, it doesn’t mean that all stocks move in that same direction. Sometimes it can be difficult for investors to discern whether the direction of the market is being influenced by larger stocks that hold more weight in an index, or by a majority of stocks that are pushing the markets in a particular direction.

The purpose of the A/D line is to see how it correlates with the price movement of the index it’s being compared to. Traders and investors can use the A/D line to see how many stocks are rising or declining to form an estimate on market direction.

Where Is the Advance/Decline Line on a Chart?

Market participants can find the advance/decline line above or below a stock index chart. Investors can reference the A/D line and compare it to the chart stock market indexes to better understand the strength of the market and to help gauge the direction of where the market might be headed.

Advance/Decline Line vs the Arms Index

The Arms Index — also known as the story-term trading index (TRIN) — is another technical analysis indicator used to estimate market sentiment and measure volatility. It’s a ratio between advancing and declining stocks versus the volume of stocks whose price increases or decreases. In other words, the TRIN compares advancing and declining stocks to their volume and shows whether the volume is flowing toward advancing or declining stocks.

If more volume is trending toward declining stocks, the TRIN for that day will be greater than one. If more A/D volume correlates with advancing stocks, then the TRIN will be below one for that day. A high TRIN reading could signal to traders that stock selling may be on the horizon. A TRIN reading below one could indicate a buying opportunity.

Traders may use the TRIN ratio as a short-term market gauge to measure overbought or oversold market levels, while the A/D line can be used to gauge longer term market sentiment by measuring the rise and fall of stock over a period of time.


💡 Quick Tip: How to manage potential risk factors in a self-directed investment account? Doing your research and employing strategies like dollar-cost averaging and diversification may help mitigate financial risk when trading stocks.

Advance/Decline Line Formula

The A/D Line is calculated by taking the difference between the number of stocks that advance and the number of stocks that decline, compared to the prior close. This value is added to the previous day’s A/D Line value. If there are more declining stocks versus advancing stocks on a particular day, then traders will see the A/D line start to move downward. If there are more stocks that are advancing, the A/D number is going to be increasing. Here is the formula:

Advance/Decline Line = Number of advancing stocks – Number of declining stocks + Previous A/D Line value

Calculating the Advance/Decline Line (A/D)

The A/D line is a cumulative, daily calculation that is plotted each day so market participants can see the direction of where stocks are moving. When reading the A/D line, it’s important for traders to look at the direction of the line and not its value.

Traders may use the A/D line to help decide which trades to place next. For example, if the market shows more declining stocks than advancing stocks, this means a majority of stocks closed at a lesser value than their previous day close. As a result, traders may anticipate that the market will fall in the near term, and may choose to sell because the market trend is moving in a bearish direction.

Some indexes, like the S&P 500, are market-cap weighted, which means the larger companies hosted in the index influence the direction of the index. The A/D line allows investors to look at stocks on a level playing field. When a market rises, for example, the A/D line shows investors whether this rise was driven by a majority of stocks increasing or if the rise was caused by a select few of stocks that hold a larger weight in the index.

What Does the Advance/Decline Line Show?

The advance/decline line shows traders the degree of participation of stocks in a market that is either rising or falling and whether the majority of stocks are moving in a similar direction of the market.

The line is a representation of stocks that are ticking up or down cumulatively, adding stock movements each day to see the trend of advancing stocks vs. declining stocks. If there were more declining stocks than advancing stocks on a particular day, the A/D line would start to slope downward. If there were more advancing stocks than declining stocks on the day, then the A/D line would slope upwards.

Sometimes there might be a difference in direction between the index and the A/D line. This is called a divergence, and it can happen in one of two ways.

Bearish Divergence: Declining Line

If the index is on an upward trend but the A/D line has a negative slope, this is known as a bearish divergence. The increase in the index may be driven by some stocks, but this scenario signals to traders the market may reverse and trend downward in the short term.

Bullish Divergence: Rising Line

If the index is on a downward trend but the A/D line has a positive slope, this is called a bullish divergence. The index seems to be bearish, but the A/D line tells market participants there are more advancing than declining stocks during the period that the index is declining. This may signal a trend reversal in market prices and indicate the market has more strength than meets the eye.

Example of Using the A/D Line

Traders use the A/D line to compare it to the price movement of the index.

For example, when an index you’re monitoring is moving to new highs, you want to see the A/D line moving new highs to confirm the index’s direction.

If the index and the A/D line are both hitting new highs, the market is hitting a bullish trend. If the stock market reaches a new peak but the A/D line reaches a lower peak than the previous rally, that means fewer stocks are participating in a higher move and the rally could be coming to an end. This could suggest that the strength of the market is driven by a few names with larger market caps.

Is the A/D Line a Good Indicator?

The A/D line is considered a reputable and popular measurement for traders to gather reliable insight into the strength of a market trend. Note that there are many market indicators out there, and each will have good and bad use cases. But generally, the A/D line may be a good choice for many investors to utilize.

When the price of an asset changes, traders will want to know whether it’s best to buy or sell. With the A/D line, traders can estimate price trends of assets and potential reversals by reviewing the direction of the A/D line, which is considered to be a reasonably reliable indicator in predicting trends since it shows market participants how the market is behaving.

Pros of the A/D Line

Traders can find the A/D Line indicator either above or below a stock chart on a trading platform and may use it as a tool to try to time the market and potentially catch a particular stock price.

By gauging the direction of where markets are headed, the A/D Line can help traders forecast stock price movements on the upside or downside. This may help market participants position their trades favorably.

Cons of the A/D Line

It’s important for market participants to be careful to not rely on the A/D Line as their only market indicator. While the A/D Line offers insight into overall market direction, it may not be able to capture minor market changes.

The A/D Line does not capture price changes between trading gaps, or when a stock’s price moves higher or lower throughout the trading day even though there’s not much trading going on.

Another limitation is that even though the line shows the general direction of where the market is trending, either a positive or negative slope, the A/D line doesn’t show the precise percentage the stock moved.

How Investors Can Use the Advance/Decline Line

The A/D line is positioned against an index to help spot market trends and reversals. Traders who trade on the major indexes can use the A/D line to gauge overall market sentiment. Market participants can look at a historical A/D line to see how the market performed in different periods of time.


💡 Quick Tip: How do you decide if a certain trading platform or app is right for you? Ideally, the investment platform you choose offers the features that you need for your investment goals or strategy, e.g., an easy-to-use interface, data analysis, educational tools.

The Takeaway

The Advance/Decline Line is a tool used by traders and investors to forecast the direction of where the overall stock market is headed. The A/D Line is a well-known market indicator used to predict and confirm trends and forecast market reversals.

The A/D Line offers a great visual guide that may help traders make decisions on market strategies and positions in the short term. But while there are benefits of using this metric, it’s important for market participants to know the A/D line’s drawbacks as well.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.

FAQ

What is considered a good Advance/Decline ratio?

An advance/decline ratio of one or more is generally considered to be good, as it’s a signal that a stock is in a stable or on an upward trend. Conversely, a ratio of less than one is a sign that it could be declining.

What is the 10-day Advance/Decline line?

The 10-day advance/decline line is a technical indicator that allows investors to get a measure of the average number of daily advancers minus decliners within an index or specific sector over the previous ten trading days.

What does a period of decline in investment mean?

A period of decline in investment is a broad description of a period of deflation in the investment market. It could take the form of an overall drop in the value of investments.

Photo credit: iStock/utah778


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INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What Are IPO Proceeds?

What Are IPO Proceeds?

Initial public offerings (IPO) are a common tool for companies to raise capital, and the funds raised in an IPO are known as IPO proceeds.

When investors purchase IPO stocks, the company gets to keep the proceeds, after paying underwriters, the exchange, and others that helped with the IPO process.

By opening up to public investment, a previously private company can bring in significant funds that can be used for various activities, rather than turning to debt as a means of expansion.

Companies can use the capital brought in through an IPO in a variety of ways, but they must disclose their plans to investors.

Key Points

•   Initial public offerings (IPOs) are a common tool for companies to raise capital, with proceeds known as IPO proceeds.

•   Companies must disclose their plans to investors for how they will use the proceeds.

•   Common uses for IPO proceeds include paying off debt; funding additional research and development; and general corporate purposes.

•   Companies must file an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to disclose how they intend to use the proceeds.

•   While companies get to keep most of their IPO proceeds, a portion also goes to investment banks, accountants, lawyers, and others who helped them with the IPO process.

IPO Proceeds Defined

When a company holds an initial public offering (IPO) they must publish their plans for how they will use the proceeds. This helps investors understand how the company will use their money, and decide whether they agree with the company’s plans before they invest.

This is important because even though the IPO process is highly regulated, it’s also highly risky. Some companies that issue their stock for the first time can see the stock price soar; others can see it plunge. It’s also possible for the IPO to have an IPO pop, or price spike, before dropping. This kind of volatility is common to IPOs, which is why investors must proceed with caution.

Companies preparing for an IPO file an S-1, a several-hundred-page document, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which includes a disclosure about the planned use of IPO proceeds.

They must also show investors a business plan. Potential investors can evaluate the business plan and see if they think they will receive a satisfactory return on their investment if they buy stock in that IPO.

While companies get to keep most of their IPO proceeds, a portion also goes to all investment banks, accountants, lawyers, and others who helped them with the IPO process, including valuing the company and setting an IPO cutoff price. According to PWC, underwriting fees alone eat up 3.5% to 7% of IPO proceeds.

💡 Quick Tip: Keen to invest in an initial public offering, or IPO? Be sure to check with your brokerage about what’s required. Typically IPO stock is available only to eligible investors.

What Are IPO Proceeds Used For?

There are a few areas where companies tend to spend IPO proceeds. Generally companies mention multiple uses in their S-1 filings, and it may also be something that they discuss with investors during their IPO roadshow. These might include:

General Corporate Purposes

General corporate purposes is a very common area companies talk about in their use of proceeds statements. It is a broad category that covers a lot of uses such as capital expenditures, operating expenses, and working capital, and getting more money for this is a major reason that many companies go public. Companies can use this term to describe broad activities without going into detail about their plans.

This allows them to keep their plans private and also lets them keep their options open and decide exactly how to spend money at a later date. Some companies do go into greater detail about the meaning of their general corporate purposes statement.

Research & Development

Companies might also use proceeds from an IPO to fund research and development. They spend funds developing new products and services, which can take years and significant amounts of money. Since R&D is so expensive, it is a major reason companies choose to hold IPOs.

Without R&D, some companies might struggle to keep up with competition and stay relevant in their industry. Some companies go into detail about the types of R&D projects they plan to work on using IPO proceeds, while others keep their plans vague.

Company Growth

Companies often choose to hold an IPO to raise funds for company growth. Company growth plans often appear in their business plan, and can include capital expenditures, working capital, sales and marketing plans to help a company grow its reach and revenue.

Companies want to create long-term, sustainable growth so that a company can stay in business for a long time. Like other uses of IPO proceeds, companies may go into detail about their plans for company growth expenditures or they may keep their plans vague.


💡 Quick Tip: All investments come with some degree of risk — and some are riskier than others. Before investing online, decide on your investment goals and how much risk you want to take.

Acquisitions

Companies can use IPO proceeds to merge with or acquire other businesses, something that can be very expensive. Without holding an IPO a company might not have the funds required to complete an acquisition. Acquisitions and mergers can help a company grow their customer base, eliminate competition, and expand their product and service offerings.

When a company includes an acquisition in its S-1 filing, they must state which company they intend to acquire. If they don’t yet have a company in mind to acquire, they can just list acquisitions as one possible use of IPO proceeds. A company does not have to state the exact company they are interested in acquiring if it will harm the potential of the acquisition plan.

Some companies take a unique path to acquisitions using IPO proceeds, known as a “blank check” IPO or special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Companies create a shell company that they take public with an IPO and then use the IPO proceeds to complete an acquisition.

Debt Repayment

Another common use of IPO proceeds is to pay off debt. By paying off any existing debts, companies no longer have interest payments, so they reduce their operating costs, and they can also gain access to more funds from loans. Although it can be beneficial to a company to pay off their debts, this use of IPO proceeds is not popular with investors.

Other uses of IPO Proceeds

In addition to the uses described above, there are many other ways companies can use IPO proceeds, including paying taxes and charitable actions.

SEC Requirements on IPO Proceeds

The SEC requires companies file a “use of proceeds” section in their S-1 IPO submission. The S-1 explains to investors the goals of the IPO and what the company plans to do following the IPO, including how they will use proceeds. Requirements for what must be included in the S-1 are fairly broad, so companies can choose how much to share with potential investors, and they have a lot of choice about how they can use IPO proceeds.

There are several specific requirements for what must be included in the S-1, a document scrutinized by investors as part of their IPO due diligence. The “use of proceeds” section must include a brief outline of how proceeds from an IPO will be used. The requirements for what the brief outline includes are broad, giving companies a lot of freedom in what they want to disclose. Companies are allowed to use broad statements about planned use of funds, such as listing the categories described above.

Later sections in the S-1 submission require companies to go into greater detail about spending plans if they plan to use funds for certain activities. Just because a company states they plan to use funds in a certain way doesn’t legally bind them to actually use the funds in that way. However, companies need to inform investors that plans may change later if that is the case.

The Takeaway

With many companies going public per year, knowing how a company is going to use its IPO proceeds — the funds earned from the public offering itself — is important if you’re thinking about investing in that company’s IPO. You can find that and other useful information about a planned IPO in a company’s S-1.

Common uses for IPO proceeds include paying off debt; funding additional research and development; general corporate purposes, and more.

Whether you’re curious about exploring IPOs, or interested in traditional stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can get started by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. On SoFi Invest, eligible SoFi members have the opportunity to trade IPO shares, and there are no account minimums for those with an Active Investing account. As with any investment, it's wise to consider your overall portfolio goals in order to assess whether IPO investing is right for you, given the risks of volatility and loss.

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

Who gets the proceeds from an IPO?

When a company holds an IPO, they receive money from banks and institutional investors who have agreed to invest prior to the start of the IPO. The company receives proceeds from the initial sale of stock. Any money exchanged after the IPO from the sale of stock doesn’t go directly to the company.

What are secondary IPO proceeds?

Primary proceeds are those made from the initial sale of stock in an IPO. Secondary IPO proceeds are those made in the stock market following the IPO.

How does an IPO raise money?

An IPO raises money by offering shares of stock in a company to institutional and retail investors. When investors purchase those stocks, the company gets to keep the proceeds, after paying underwriters, the exchange, and others that helped with the IPO process.


Photo credit: iStock/Charday Penn

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Investing in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves substantial risk, including the risk of loss. Further, there are a variety of risk factors to consider when investing in an IPO, including but not limited to, unproven management, significant debt, and lack of operating history. For a comprehensive discussion of these risks please refer to SoFi Securities’ IPO Risk Disclosure Statement. IPOs offered through SoFi Securities are not a recommendation and investors should carefully read the offering prospectus to determine whether an offering is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

New offerings generally have high demand and there are a limited number of shares available for distribution to participants. Many customers may not be allocated shares and share allocations may be significantly smaller than the shares requested in the customer’s initial offer (Indication of Interest). For SoFi’s allocation procedures please refer to IPO Allocation Procedures.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What Is an IPO Roadshow?

What Is an IPO Roadshow?

Before a company can sell its shares on an exchange, it first needs to go through the Initial Public Offering (IPO) process. One of the most critical steps in this process is the IPO roadshow, in which the company pitches itself to potential investors.

A roadshow presentation can take place in-person, with meetings in cities across the country, or the company can offer an online event instead. Either way, the goal is the same: to generate interest in the company that will encourage investors to buy in.

Key Points

•   An IPO roadshow is a series of meetings or presentations in which key members of a private company pitch the initial public offering to prospective investors.

•   Digital roadshows have become increasingly popular and offer an advantage of increased efficiency compared to traditional roadshows.

•   The purpose of an IPO roadshow is to generate interest in a company among prospective investors in order to raise capital.

•   Virtual IPO roadshow presentations have the potential to reach a broader audience, rather than being limited to a handful of cities.

•   Buying IPO stock can help diversify an investment portfolio, but is typically high risk and requires due diligence.

What Is a Roadshow?

In general, a roadshow is a series of meetings or presentations in which key members of a private company, usually executives, pitch the initial public offering, or IPO, to prospective investors. Effectively, the company is taking its branding message on the road to meet with investors in different cities, hence the name.

The IPO roadshow presentation is an important part of the IPO process in which a company sells new shares to the public for the first time. Whether a company’s IPO succeeds or not can hinge on interest generated among investors before the stock makes its debut on an exchange.

There are also some cases where company executives will embark on a road show to meet with investors to talk about their company, even if they’re not planning an IPO.

💡 Quick Tip: IPO stocks can get a lot of media hype. But savvy investors know that where there’s buzz there can also be higher-than-warranted valuations. IPO shares might spike or plunge (or both), so investing in IPOs may not be suitable for investors with short time horizons.

How Roadshows Work

Typically, the roadshow is the third step in the IPO process, following the selection of an underwriter to oversee the process and the completion of due diligence. At this point, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reviews all of the documents submitted in connection with the IPO, while the company and the underwriting team get ready for the roadshow.

The underwriters and executives taking part in the IPO roadshow work together to decide which cities to visit, which investors to target, and which information to include in the roadshow presentation.

A typical IPO roadshow presentation highlights the most important information the company wants investors to know, including:

•   The company’s history and its plans regarding the IPO

•   Details about the top executives

•   The current vision and mission statement

•   Financial performance and earnings history

•   Future sales projections and anticipated growth

•   IPO goals

A roadshow IPO presentation may include digital media, such as videos or a slideshow. Investors have a chance to ask questions during a Q&A session following the presentation.

The roadshow tour for an IPO can last anywhere for two to four weeks, depending on how many stops the company makes along the way.

New Digital Roadshows

Virtual roadshows have become an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional IPO roadshow. The pandemic forced companies to rethink the way they meet with investors, resulting in a growing number of roadshows taking place online only.

Digital roadshows mean companies forgo a chance to meet with prospective investors face-to-face, but they offer an advantage in terms of increased efficiency. Company executives and underwriters save money and time, since they’re not traveling. Virtual IPO roadshow presentations also have the potential to reach a broader audience, rather than being limited to just a handful of cities.

If a company schedules multiple presentations in a single day, using a virtual format, they can complete the roadshow move through the IPO process more quickly. This could make it easier to determine the price of an IPO if there’s less opportunity for pricing to be affected by volatility. Pricing the IPO typically happens at the conclusion of the road show.


💡 Quick Tip: The best stock trading app? That’s a personal preference, of course. Generally speaking, though, a great app is one with an intuitive interface and powerful features to help make trades quickly and easily.

Importance of Roadshows

The IPO roadshow presentation is an opportunity for a company to convince investors that buying stock in their company is a good investment opportunity. The main purpose of an IPO is generally to raise capital and companies can’t do that without interest from investors.

IPO stocks are considered high-risk investments, and while some companies may present an opportunity for growth, there are no guarantees. Like investing in any other type of stock, it’s essential for investors to do their due diligence. While individual investors aren’t included in the IPO roadshow process, they can follow the coverage, to understand new details that might emerge about the company.

Pros and Cons of a Roadshow

If the company goes public and no one buys its shares, then the IPO ends up being a flop, which can affect the company’s success in the near and long term. If the company experiences an IPO pop, in which its price goes much higher than its initial offering price, it could be a sign that underwriters mispriced the stock.

A roadshow is also important for helping determine how to price the company’s stock when the IPO launches. If the roadshow ends up being a smashing success, for example, that can cause the underwriters to adjust their expectations for the stock’s IPO price.

On the other hand, if the roadshow doesn’t seem to be generating much buzz around the company at all, that could cause the price to be adjusted downward.

In a worst-case scenario, the company may decide to pull the plug on the IPO altogether or to go a different route, such as a private IPO placement.

The Takeaway

The IPO roadshow presents an opportunity for a new company to convince investors to invest in their organization. The main purpose of an IPO is to raise capital and companies can’t do that without interest from investors.

The underwriters and executives taking part in the IPO roadshow work together to decide which cities to visit, which investors to target, and which information to include in the roadshow presentation.

While individual investors typically don’t have access to roadshows, eligible investors may still participate in IPO trading. Buying IPO stock can help you to diversify your investment portfolio, and may present growth opportunities — but IPO shares are typically high risk. The key is doing your research to find the right companies to invest in as they go public.

Whether you’re curious about exploring IPOs, or interested in traditional stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can get started by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. On SoFi Invest, eligible SoFi members have the opportunity to trade IPO shares, and there are no account minimums for those with an Active Investing account. As with any investment, it's wise to consider your overall portfolio goals in order to assess whether IPO investing is right for you, given the risks of volatility and loss.

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

What is the purpose of a roadshow?

The purpose of an IPO roadshow is to generate interest in a company among prospective investors. The company executives and underwriting can meet with investors in-person or virtually to share details about the IPO, the company’s financials and its goals.

How long after the roadshow is the IPO?

The IPO can take place as little as two weeks after the roadshow is completed. The actual timing depends on a number of factors, including whether the underwriters determine that a price adjustment is needed or if any snags come up involving the filing of key documents.

Are IPO roadshows public?

The IPO roadshow process typically focuses on institutional investors, rather than retail investors. So the roadshow presentations have traditionally been private affairs. But with more companies opting to host virtual roadshows, there’s potential for the general public to be able to view IPO presentations online.


Photo credit: iStock/FreshSplash

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Investing in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves substantial risk, including the risk of loss. Further, there are a variety of risk factors to consider when investing in an IPO, including but not limited to, unproven management, significant debt, and lack of operating history. For a comprehensive discussion of these risks please refer to SoFi Securities’ IPO Risk Disclosure Statement. IPOs offered through SoFi Securities are not a recommendation and investors should carefully read the offering prospectus to determine whether an offering is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

New offerings generally have high demand and there are a limited number of shares available for distribution to participants. Many customers may not be allocated shares and share allocations may be significantly smaller than the shares requested in the customer’s initial offer (Indication of Interest). For SoFi’s allocation procedures please refer to IPO Allocation Procedures.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What Is IPO Due Diligence?

What Is IPO Due Diligence?

As part of the IPO process, private companies must perform due diligence to ensure that they’ve met all the requirements for being listed on a public exchange. This ensures that the company follows all registration and disclosure guidelines established by the Securities Act of 1933.

Broadly speaking, IPO due diligence is similar to the due diligence performed in any other situation involving large amounts of capital. Just as an investor may research certain aspects of a company before deciding to purchase shares, a company that’s planning an IPO must have an understanding of the various factors that could positively or negatively affect its success.

If you’re interested in investing in IPOs, it’s helpful to know what goes on behind the scenes and how the IPO due diligence process works, given that IPO stocks are considered high-risk securities.

Recommended: How to Buy IPO Stocks

Key Points

•   IPO due diligence is a process of researching a private company to make sure it meets the requirements for being listed on a public exchange.

•   The due diligence process involves gathering information about the company’s organizational structure, licensing and taxes, board and employee information, financial information, customer/service information, and company property.

•   Benefits of IPO due diligence include an opportunity to explore the viability of an IPO for the company and more information for investors on the company and its risks.

•   Steps to filing an IPO include SEC review, IPO roadshow, pricing, launch, stabilization, and transition to market.

•   Due diligence can help give investors confidence that the company complies with all relevant SEC regulations.

IPO Due Diligence Process

IPO due diligence typically takes place within the first 60 days of a company beginning the IPO process. During the IPO due diligence process, the IPO underwriters and IPO attorneys will work together to perform the necessary background research to gain a better understanding of the company, its management and its financials. This involves gathering the follow information:

1. Organizational Data

During the first stage of the IPO due diligence process, the underwriters and attorneys gather information about the company’s organizational structure. This may include requesting copies of any or all of the following:

•   Articles of incorporation

•   A list of the company’s shareholders and committees

•   An overview of the number of shares owned per individual shareholder

•   Annual business reports for the previous three years

•   Company business plans or strategic plans

•   A breakdown of the company’s organizational structure, including board members, directors, and employees

The underwriting team may also request a copy of a certificate in good standing from the State Secretary, along with information on organizational decision-making.


💡 Quick Tip: Access to IPO shares before they trade on public exchanges has usually been available only to large institutional investors. That’s changing now, and some brokerages offer pre-listing IPO investing to qualified investors.

2. Licensing and Taxation

The next step in IPO due diligence involves collecting information about the company’s licensing and taxes. At this stage, the IPO underwriter and/or attorneys may request copies of:

•   All business licenses currently issued to the company

•   Annual tax returns

•   Government licenses and permits held by the company

•   Employment tax filings

•   Comprehensive reports of the company’s tax filing data

The underwriting team may look back three years or more when analyzing income tax returns and tax filing information.

Recommended: The IPO Process

3. Board and Employee Information

Due diligence can also extend to information about the company’s board of directors, its managers, and its employees. At this phase of IPO due diligence, underwriters and attorney may request:

•   A list of all individuals it employees

•   Information about employee status, including each employee’s position and salary

•   Details regarding employee benefits and bonuses, according to position

•   A copy of company policies relating to sick leave or conflict resolution

•   Details about employee insurance benefits, including health, disability and life insurance

•   Copies of resumes for leading personnel

•   Copies of employee audits

With regard to employee audits, underwriters can look back two to three years.


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4. Financial Information

A company’s finances can come under close scrutiny during the IPO due diligence process. When considering financial information, the IPO underwriting and legal team may review:

•   Copies of broker or investment banking arrangements

•   Company financial statements records, including previous financial audits

•   A list of all financial accounts help by the company

•   Copies of financial analyst reports

•   Information about the company’s inventory holdings

•   Details regarding the company’s accounting and amortization methods

•   A list of all fixed and variable expenses

The time frame for which underwriters can review financial information can stretch from the previous three to five years, depending on what they’re examining.

Recommended: How to Read Financial Statements

5. Customer/Service Information

Due diligence also takes into account interactions with customers and service practices. During this step, the underwriting team may request:

•   Reports or information about the products and services offered by the company

•   Details about consumer complaints filed against the company

•   Information about legal approvals for the company’s products and services

•   Copies of the company’s trading policies

•   Details regarding the company’s marketing strategies as well as copies of marketing materials

The underwriters may also need to see copies of customer supply or service agreements.

6. Company Property

Last but not least, IPO underwriters will examine property holdings owned by the company. This can include reviewing information about:

•   Business locations

•   Real estate agreements and/or franchise licenses

•   Trademarks and copyrights held by the company

•   Approved patents held by the company

•   Trademark complaints, if applicable

•   Official contracts showing the purchase of real estate

The underwriters may also ask for a full inventory of any physical or real property the company owns.

Objective of IPO Due Diligence

During due diligence, the underwriting team is working to gain a full understanding of how the company operates, how it’s structured, how healthy it is financially, and whether there are any potential issues that could be a roadblock to going public. The due diligence process effectively clears the way for the next steps in the IPO process.

The IPO due diligence process ensures that there are no surprises waiting to crop up that could derail a company’s progress. It’s also an opportunity for the underwriting team, the IPO attorneys and the company itself to assess any potential risk factors that may affect the IPO’s outcome.

Benefits of Due Diligence Process

IPO due diligence has benefits for both the company and investors.

IPO Due Diligence Benefits for the Company

•   Due diligence offers an opportunity to explore the viability of an IPO, based on the company’s business model, financials, capital needs and anticipated demand for its shares.

•   Due diligence also allows the company to avoid going afoul of regulatory guidelines, and it can help to identify any issues the company may need to address before going public.

IPO Due Diligence Benefits to Investors

•   The due diligence process can reveal more about a company than the information in the initial red herring prospectus. In IPO investing, a red herring refers to the initial prospectus compiled for SEC registration purposes.

•   If investors feel confident about the information they have, that could help to fuel the success of the IPO which can mean more capital raised for the company and better returns for those who purchase its shares.

Note that an investor’s eligibility or suitability for trading IPO shares is usually determined by their brokerage firm.

Next Steps in Filing IPO

Once the underwriting team has completed its due diligence, the company can move on to the next steps involved in how to file an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Again, that includes:

•   SEC review

•   IPO roadshow

•   Pricing

•   Launch

•   Stabilization

•   Transition to market

The SEC review typically takes between 90 and 150 days to complete. Now, it’s up to the SEC to determine that all regulatory requirements have been met. Usually, the team conducting the review includes one or more attorneys and one or more accountants.

Next, comes the roadshow. During the roadshow, the company presents details about the IPO to potential investors. This step of the IPO process allows the company and underwriters to gauge interest in the offering and attract investors.

IPO pricing usually involves a closer look at the company’s financials, including its valuation and cash flow. Underwriters may also consider valuations for similar competitors when determining the appropriate IPO price.

After setting the IPO price, the underwriters and the company will schedule the IPO launch. Once the IPO launches, investors can purchase shares of the company. The underwriter does the steering on price stabilization movements during the 25 days following the launch, after which the company transitions to market competition, concluding the IPO process.

The Takeaway

IPO due diligence is an important part of the IPO process. Thanks to due diligence, investors who want to purchase IPO stock can feel confident that a company about to go public complies with all relevant SEC regulations. Then, it’s up to the individual investor to decide whether trading IPO shares suits their goals and risk tolerance.

Whether you’re curious about exploring IPOs, or interested in traditional stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can get started by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. On SoFi Invest, eligible SoFi members have the opportunity to trade IPO shares, and there are no account minimums for those with an Active Investing account. As with any investment, it's wise to consider your overall portfolio goals in order to assess whether IPO investing is right for you, given the risks of volatility and loss.

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.


Photo credit: iStock/porcorex

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Investing in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves substantial risk, including the risk of loss. Further, there are a variety of risk factors to consider when investing in an IPO, including but not limited to, unproven management, significant debt, and lack of operating history. For a comprehensive discussion of these risks please refer to SoFi Securities’ IPO Risk Disclosure Statement. IPOs offered through SoFi Securities are not a recommendation and investors should carefully read the offering prospectus to determine whether an offering is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

New offerings generally have high demand and there are a limited number of shares available for distribution to participants. Many customers may not be allocated shares and share allocations may be significantly smaller than the shares requested in the customer’s initial offer (Indication of Interest). For SoFi’s allocation procedures please refer to IPO Allocation Procedures.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Testing the Waters: What It Means in an IPO

Testing the Waters: What It Means in an IPO

Testing the waters in the initial public offering (IPO) process allows companies and related parties that are looking at going public to gauge how successful their prospective IPO would be — without going through the actual process of going public.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted in 2019 to adopt a new rule to allow companies interested in going public to test the waters (TTW). Specifically, the SEC formally rolled out Rule 163B under the Securities Act on December 3, 2019.

The IPO process can be long, costly, and risky for some companies, and thus some companies can be reluctant to try going public. But the ability to test the waters by communicating with potential investors, gauging their interest, and examining how an IPO would be received, is valuable before having to go all-in on a public offering.

Key Points

•   Testing the Waters (TTW) is an SEC rule that allows companies to gauge the success of a prospective IPO without going through the actual process.

•   The JOBS Act of 2012 allowed small businesses to communicate with Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs) and Institutional Accredited Investors (IAIs).

•   Testing the Waters allows companies to assess investor interest, explain the direction of the company, and strengthen areas of weakness.

•   The expanded rule for all issuers allows for greater transparency and communication between IPO-hopeful and the markets, as well as investors.

•   Investors have access to additional information about a company’s expected IPO and more time to decide whether to invest.

Testing the Waters During the IPO Process

Starting in 2012, testing the waters was available only for emerging growth companies, also known as EGCs. In 2019, testing the waters was extended to all issuers to increase the chance of a company successfully completing an initial public offering (IPO), and to encourage issuers to enter the public equity markets.

So, what does testing the waters mean, and how does it work? In effect, testing the waters is a way for issuers to dip their toes in the water, so to speak, and gauge the temperature before fully jumping into the IPO process.

When the new SEC rule was proposed and adopted in September 2019, Chairman Jay Clayton said, “Investors and companies alike will benefit from test-the-waters communications, including increasing the likelihood of successful public securities offerings.”

Details of the TTW rule

The TTW rule allows issuers to assess market interest in a possible IPO (or other registered securities offering) by being able to discuss the IPO with certain institutional investors before, or after, the filing of a registration statement.

Generally, issuers set up TWW meetings with investors after the issuer has filed with the SEC. They could potentially speak with specific issuers before filing with the SEC, but issuers typically want to align on the first round of SEC comments and then have a clear direction when speaking with potential investors.

Example of Testing the Waters

In late spring of 2022, a tech company that created a platform for grocery delivery, decided to test the waters for a potential IPO.

There were good reasons for the company to be cautious. The market had seen a steep drop since the beginning of the year, and investors had largely cooled on tech stocks, with IPOs taking a noticeable hit year-over-year.

Thanks to taking this step, the company was projected to IPO by the end of 2022, using the interim period to adjust their valuation and their path forward, given the competition in the space.

To sum it up, testing the waters allows companies to see what investors say, answer questions, and potentially identify areas of weakness that could be strengthened.

💡 Quick Tip: Access to IPO shares before they trade on public exchanges has usually been available only to large institutional investors. That’s changing now, and some brokerages offer pre-listing IPO investing to qualified investors.

Purpose of Testing the Waters

Testing the waters has two chief aims: The first is communicating with potential investors to explain the direction of the company and gathering their feedback. The second is to evaluate the market before having to invest large sums in an actual IPO.


💡Quick Tip: How do you decide if a certain trading platform or app is right for you? Ideally, the investment platform you choose offers the features that you need for your investment goals or strategy, e.g., an easy-to-use interface, data analysis, educational tools.

Communication with Potential Investors

In addition to giving issuers a chance to see whether their offering will be successful, TWW allows companies to communicate highly specific information.

Some industries call for greater detail of information from investors, which makes testing the waters ever more critical.

For example, in the life sciences industry, testing the waters is popular because issuers tend to have a shorter operating history and also need to communicate detailed scientific information to their potential investors. For these types of industries and issuers, testing the waters is highly beneficial.

Cost-Effective Market Evaluation

Testing the waters allows issuers to determine whether it makes sense for them to devote the time and resources to filing an IPO. Before the TWW rule, many companies avoided the IPO process because of the cost and not having clarity around investor demand.

Testing the waters takes away some of those risks and provides more information as a company enters the IPO. In a sense, it allows for a company to evaluate the market, and for the market, in turn, to evaluate the company exploring an IPO.

What the JOBS Act Meant for Testing the Waters

In 2012, Congress under President Obama passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (also known as the JOBS Act) to revitalize the small business sector. The JOBS Act, which created Section 5(d) of the Securities Act, made it easier for small businesses, also known as emerging growth companies or EGCs, to gain access to funding. It removed certain barriers to capital and reduced regulation.

The enactment of the JOBS Act also allowed small businesses to communicate with potential investors — qualified institutional buyers (also known as QIBs) and institutional accredited investors (or IAIs). By communicating with potential investors before or after filing a registration statement, EGCs were given the ability to get a sense for interest in a potential offering.

With the expansion of that rule in 2019 to include all issuers, not just EGCs, more opportunity opened up for a range of businesses.

What Does This Mean for Investors?

While it makes good business sense to expand regulations and allow all businesses considering an IPO to test the waters, just what does this all mean for the average retail investor?

First, the expanded test-the-waters rule for all issuers allows companies more flexibility when determining whether to move forward with an IPO. So for investors, the expanded rule means that they have access to communication from issuers regarding upcoming IPOs. They also have more time to determine whether it’s the right investment for them.

This can be valuable for retail investors, who may benefit from having additional information about a company’s expected IPO. Investing in IPO stock can be highly risky, as IPO shares are typically quite volatile.

In short: Testing the waters gives more flexibility to both issuers and investors.

Investing in IPO Stocks

IPOs have been popular among investors and certain IPOs can generate excitement in the investor community. Prices on the day of an IPO and immediately afterward tend to produce volatile price movements, which can produce large gains or losses. Luckily, the 2019 SEC rule that allows any company to test the waters before committing to the IPO process is a boon to businesses as well as investors.

TTW, as the rule is known, allows for greater transparency and communication between the IPO-hopeful and the markets, as well as investors, prior to the full-blown IPO process. This enables companies to adjust their strategy for the IPO, and it allows investors to assess whether they want to invest.

Whether you’re curious about exploring IPOs, or interested in traditional stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can get started by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. On SoFi Invest, eligible SoFi members have the opportunity to trade IPO shares, and there are no account minimums for those with an Active Investing account. As with any investment, it's wise to consider your overall portfolio goals in order to assess whether IPO investing is right for you, given the risks of volatility and loss.


Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

Is testing the waters an offer?

No, testing the waters is not an offer. Testing the waters in the IPO process allows issuers, which are corporations, investment trusts, etc., to gauge interest and investor demand for a potential IPO without actually having to go public.

What is the post-IPO quiet period?

The quiet period is a set amount of time when the company cannot share promotional publicity, forecasting, or expressing opinions about the value of the company. In an IPO, the quiet period begins when a company files registration with U.S. regulators for 25 days after the stock starts trading — and sometimes longer.

What is an analyst day in an IPO?

When planning to go public, the issuer or company meets with syndicate analysts who do not work for the issuer or the company going public. This type of meeting, also called an “analyst day,” is important because analysts create their own opinion about the issuer. They then help educate the market about the company once the transaction has launched.


Photo credit: iStock/LumiNola

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Investing in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves substantial risk, including the risk of loss. Further, there are a variety of risk factors to consider when investing in an IPO, including but not limited to, unproven management, significant debt, and lack of operating history. For a comprehensive discussion of these risks please refer to SoFi Securities’ IPO Risk Disclosure Statement. IPOs offered through SoFi Securities are not a recommendation and investors should carefully read the offering prospectus to determine whether an offering is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

New offerings generally have high demand and there are a limited number of shares available for distribution to participants. Many customers may not be allocated shares and share allocations may be significantly smaller than the shares requested in the customer’s initial offer (Indication of Interest). For SoFi’s allocation procedures please refer to IPO Allocation Procedures.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SOIN0623085

Read more
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