When a company issues new shares on the primary market, is it possible or even obligatory to reserve a given amount for retail investors?

If it is possible: How often is this done? (From Wikipedia I know that "individual investors owned 26% of equities" in 2005, but I assume that most of them are not bought on the primary market. So how much?)

When it is done: How long does it usually take until all shares reserved for retail investors are sold? Or what's the range: from "on the day of issuance" until "after one year"?

Or does it essentially never happen: on issuance all shares are bought by institutional investors?

  • $\begingroup$ my broker lets me participate in certain IPOs by putting in an offer before the IPO, same as institutional investors do. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ @user253751. Interesting. (Just to let you know: I'm not a retail investor, and I don't have a broker.) So you need a broker (who is an institutional investor, right?). Does he have access to the market that a private person doesn't have? In the end this doesn't matter a lot: from your perspective, you as a retail investor can participate in the primary market and be among the first who buys a newly issued share. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 10:52
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    $\begingroup$ Every retail investor needs a broker, which is a firm that has (direct or more indirect) access to the market. That's what makes it retail, I believe. You can't just sign up for a NASDAQ account just like you can't buy your milk directly from Fonterra. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that there are no shares that are reserved for retail investors - that's what I want to know. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 10:53
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    $\begingroup$ If you have a retail account with a large broker there is a good probability you will see screens on their website or e-mails informing you that you can invest in IPOs. The marketing happens before the IPO so the banks know something about the level of interest. The size of the equity offered can be reduced if there is low interest or the IPO can be delayed or cancelled or simply scheduled for when there is high interest. For example SK Bioscience (302440.KS) is a vaccine maker that IPO'd in March 2021. $\endgroup$
    – H2ONaCl
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 18:27


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