Japan’s securities industry group to review IPO price-setting process

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo Stock Exchange temporarily suspended all trading due to system problems
FILE PHOTO: A passerby wearing a protective mask is silhouetted in front of a screen of blank prices on a stock quotation board after Tokyo Stock Exchange temporarily suspended all trading due to system problems, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan October 1, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

September 15, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese brokerage industry group said on Wednesday it would review the process for setting the price of initial public offerings (IPO), responding to criticism from startups that IPO prices have often been too low and surged on market debuts.

The Japan Securities Dealers Association said it would set up a panel consisting of scholars, investors and executives from major brokerage houses and startups this month to review the process.

On the Tokyo bourse’s Mothers market for start-ups, it is common to see wide gaps between IPO prices and prices fetched on debut, which some startups blame on brokerage houses setting IPO prices excessively low.

Brokerage houses say the wide gaps as a result of high volatility in the Mothers market, where share prices of firms with very small market capitalisations tend to swing wildly.

“We hope to examine the process from various perspectives,” Toshio Morita, chief executive of the industry group and the former head of Nomura Holdings’ main securities arm, told a news conference.

He said prices on a firm’s market debut were bound to surge due to tight supply, although he said the process had not been reviewed extensively and more flexibility could be introduced.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Edmund Blair)