Addressing the costs, complexity and conflicts of interest in the traditional IPO book building process
We’re here to help grow the equity IPO market in the UK, across Europe and, ultimately, globally, by supporting the development of a fairer and more cost-efficient IPO book building process. SquareBook contributes in two ways: by improving the quality of the process which matches issuers to investors, and by helping reduce barriers to entry that affect both issuers and investors. Our core proposition is to better align the interests of issuers and successful share applicants through using innovative technology.
In 2015 we bought a software company serving firms working in the primary market, then developed our business model by working in step with the FCA’s own investigation into Corporate and Investment Banking and Occasional Paper 15. We successfully applied to be part of cohort 3 of the FCA’s Project Innovate and will have regulatory authorisation to conduct a live IPO. SquareBook’s launch coincides with the introduction of new COBS 11A rules; our platform manages and complies with the new IPO process.
We recognise that the underlying themes of recent regulatory initiatives in financial services - transparency, fair play, efficiency and improved competition - could and should be extended to the IPO book building process. We acknowledge the direction of travel by regulators, and also developed SquareBook’s innovative book building functionality to better align the interests of issuers and investors. We’re positioned to take advantage of opportunities to streamline and improve the efficiency of the equity IPO market.
How we operate and what we do is driven not by our rules but by our culture, which embodies the highest standards of ethics and compliance. We believe this is the best way of building a sustainable business in the long term, and is the best foundation for SquareBook, our employees, our clients and our customers to succeed. SquareBook's founders, Mark and Joe, have already agreed to contribute 10% net profits to charitable causes.
How we support the IPO and help ensure every counterparty’s regulatory compliance
Commentary on the current IPO book building process
An independent review for the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills for the purpose of guiding the government in considering the IPO and book building process, including academic comment and analysis.
Review from 2012 examining how well equity markets are achieving their core purposes, finding that short-termism is a problem in UK equity markets and setting out principles to provide a foundation for long-term perspective.
A paper by the FCA, examining evidence that syndicate banks make favourable allocations to investors who provide them with information likely to be useful in pricing the IPO, and that book-runners favour investors from whom they generate the greatest revenues elsewhere.
This report from the European IPO Task Force makes recommendations to EU policy makers and industry participants to increase EU job creation and drive growth, by restoring effective access to the public markets for smaller, high growth companies.
Mark Parnell-Hopkinson is COO and a founding director and has extensive experience working within regulated businesses. Mark has held senior operational roles within Plus Markets, BGC Partners and Mint Equities. Mark has also been running a 15-person consultancy business supporting over 20 regulated firms for the last five years.
Joe Sluys is CEO and a founding director, and has spent the vast majority of his career working for or with regulated businesses in technology, business intelligence and management reporting roles. In 2005, Joe founded a business which had over 50 regulated institutions as clients including some of the largest asset managers and investment banks.
Alistair Sutherland is CTO and a founding director, with over 15 years’ experience in the software industry. Alistair has held both technical and leadership roles within start-ups and multi-national companies. For the last two years he has been working closely with investment banks, delivering operational risk systems.
Richard Balarkas has joined as non-executive chairman and has over 30 years’ experience leading innovation in stock exchanges and investment banks. He is currently an INED at CBOE Europe, Saxo Capital Markets Ltd, and an advisor to the board of Compliance Solutions Strategies.
Phil Dixon will be joining as an independent non-executive director He has over 30 years’ experience in running and founding investment banks and brokers. Phil is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
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