British corporations look to muscle in on US retail investing growth


A rising variety of smaller UK corporations are searching for to faucet demand from US retail traders ready to again fast-growing and generally riskier companies.

Virtually 30 corporations with both a headquarters or inventory market itemizing within the UK have signed as much as two main “over-the-counter” markets run by OTC Markets Group, a transfer that permits US traders to purchase their shares.

The full is greater than double the variety of UK corporations that signed as much as the premium OTCQX and venture-focused OTCQB markets, two comparable US buying and selling venues, final yr and simply two that made the transfer in 2019.

The attract of US markets for some UK corporations has grown as retail investors have emerged as a strong drive in fairness markets, throwing their weight behind shares like Tesla.

“US retail traders are extra aware of expertise shares and are typically a bit of bit forward of the sport on alternatives round development shares,” stated Peter Wall, chief govt of Argo Blockchain, a London-traded cryptocurrency mining agency, which initially pushed into the US through an OTC venue in February, earlier than including an inventory on the Nasdaq trade.

OTC markets, the place the events to a commerce negotiate privately by way of a supplier relatively than sending their orders to an open inventory trade, have loved a surge of retail trading through the pandemic.

Wall stated buying and selling within the US had had a “vital influence” on demand for shares within the firm, which runs quite a lot of Bitcoin mining services.

Argo’s market capitalisation jumped from roughly £25m earlier than its shares started buying and selling within the US to greater than £500m, helped by crypto pushing into mainstream finance this yr.

Though Argo’s inventory had proved fashionable with retail consumers within the UK, Wall stated US markets offered a a lot bigger pool of capital and that there was “extra danger urge for food amongst a bigger portion of that inhabitants”. 

The urge for food to faucet US retail traders extends past UK crypto corporations. US retail inventory pickers have attracted a variety of UK suitors this yr, from small mining corporations to on-line retailers equivalent to Bare Wines.

Bare stated the transfer would “complement” its present itemizing on London’s junior AIM market and provides the corporate “publicity to a wider viewers of potential traders by easing cross-border buying and selling for our US traders and workers”.

The lure of the US will heighten concern in some quarters that London’s capital markets usually are not geared up to nurture the subsequent technology of tech corporations. Baillie Gifford fund supervisor James Anderson, one of many UK’s finest identified tech traders, has described London’s flagship FTSE 100 as a “19th century” index and stated a “deep illness” in UK capital markets has stifled homegrown entrepreneurs.

Electrical carmaker Tesla has emerged because the main instance of an organization that enjoys rapturous retail help, regardless of some institutional investors’ qualms that its $1tn valuation is inflated. Some smaller corporations hope to draw the identical enthusiasm for his or her guarantees of future development.

OTC listings within the US have already turn into pretty frequent for big UK and European teams, together with Sainsbury and Marks and Spencer.

Jason Paltrowitz, govt vice-president at OTC Markets Group, stated extra small UK corporations now wished to commerce within the US with a view to faucet help from “new sort of retail investor” that rose to prominence throughout Covid-19 lockdown and who had been extra “keen to wager on corporations” earlier than they began producing income.


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