We are pleased to announce that Peel Hunt's retail investor platform REX has entered into collaboration agreements with digital wealth manager Hargreaves Lansdown, leading investment banks, Jefferies International Limited and Numis Securities Limited and global equity capital markets adviser, Rothschild & Co to partner with REX/RetailBook on UK primary capital markets transactions.
- Hargreaves Lansdown enters into exclusivity agreement in relation to follow-on equity fundraisings
- Jefferies, Numis and Rothschild & Co enter into collaboration agreements
- REX to become a standalone business independent of Peel Hunt known as RetailBook
- REX gaining broader market adoption – nine primary capital markets transactions completed since August 2022, in partnership with a variety of investment banks including Jefferies, Citi and Stifel
REX enables retail investors to participate in capital markets transactions such as initial public offers (IPOs) and follow-on equity offerings through retail brokers and wealth managers. The benefits to issuers of using REX on their UK primary capital markets transactions include:
- Market reach – REX offers are open to a broad retail audience via retail intermediaries such as the leading execution-only brokers and wealth managers
- Good governance – helping boards of directors in fulfilling their ESG responsibilities regarding governance and inclusion
- Pre-emption can be more accurately observed – retail intermediaries hold shares on behalf of retail investors allowing for reliable calculation of pro rata allocations and allowing an offer to be made only to existing shareholders
- Access to deep pools of long-term capital – money held in SIPP and ISA accounts can be used by retail investors participating in REX retail offers
RetailBook – a new chapter
REX is currently owned and operated by Peel Hunt Limited. As announced in Peel Hunt’s Half Year Trading Update of 3 October 2022, Peel Hunt is actively engaged in establishing REX as a standalone business which is independent from Peel Hunt.
The collaboration agreements announced today represent a key step in this process as REX moves towards independence. Under the collaboration arrangements, Hargreaves Lansdown, Jefferies, Numis and Rothschild & Co will collaborate with and have the right to take up an equity stake in RetailBook alongside Peel Hunt. RetailBook is expected to launch as a standalone business in H2 2023.
Hargreaves Lansdown, the largest savings and investing platform in the United Kingdom (with 1.7 million clients), has agreed to partner with and use the REX platform on an exclusive basis in relation to follow-on equity offerings undertaken by UK listed companies (including share offerings conducted by way of ‘Accelerated Book Build’ or ‘ABB’) until 30 June 2023. This follows an announcement made
by Hargreaves Lansdown on 15 June 2022 that it has started using the REX platform to provide this service for ABBs, alongside another of the biggest UK investment platforms, AJ Bell.
Meanwhile, Jefferies, Numis and Rothschild & Co have each agreed to collaborate with REX and, when launched, RetailBook with a view to increasing the adoption of the technology in UK primary capital markets transactions managed or advised on by them.
Gaining broader traction
Numerous brokers, wealth managers, independent financial advisers and private banks have already used REX to allow UK-listed companies undertaking primary capital markets transactions to access the pool of retail capital in the United Kingdom which is estimated to be worth over £1 trillion and to provide retail investors with access to capital markets transactions. These include investment platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell and Interactive Investor.
Since August 2022, nine follow-on equity transactions have involved the use of REX, raising in total c.£7.5 million from retail shareholders. These transactions have been led by a variety of investment banks including Jefferies, Citi and Stifel. Recent transactions include fundraisings for Zinc Media Group plc, Coats Group plc, SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust plc, Emmerson plc, Bidstack Group plc, Baron Oil plc and Pressure Technologies plc. Since its establishment in 2015, REX has generated demand of over £450 million from retail investors.
The acceleration in adoption of REX on capital markets transactions and the formation of strategic partnerships have taken place against the backdrop of significant regulatory tailwinds. These include the findings of the UK Government’s Secondary Capital Raising Review (July 2022) which recommended that companies should give due consideration to including their retail shareholders in all capital raises as fully as possible. This recommendation has been reflected in the revised set of guidelines from the Pre-Emption Group (November 2022) which encourages issuers that are undertaking non pre-emptive placings of shares to give “due consideration” to the inclusion of retail investors.
Chris Hill, CEO, Hargreaves Lansdown, said:
“We are delighted to be working with REX to help allow our clients fair access to capital markets and secondary fund raisings to avoid dilution on transactions. It is hugely important that retail investors are not ignored in this growing market and that their voice is heard.”
Ed Keen, Head of Equities EMEA, Jefferies, said:
“We are pleased to partner with REX in this major capital markets innovation. Expanding retail access to capital markets issuance is a significant step to enhancing and improving capital market liquidity, efficiency and long-term success.”
Ross Mitchinson, Co-CEO, Numis, said:
“Our collaboration with REX is an important step in enabling greater retail investor access to capital markets. Through REX and eventually RetailBook we look forward to offering our corporate clients direct access to retail investors through the UK’s largest intermediary platforms”
Steven Fine, CEO, Peel Hunt, said:
“The growth of REX has reflected the increasing importance of the retail investor over recent years, with adoption of the technology on both primary and secondary transactions accelerating. To continue this trajectory we recognise that REX needs to spread its wings as a separate entity, backed by multiple industry-leading capital markets partners. Today’s announcement marks the start of this journey.”
Richard Wyatt, Chair of Equity Advisory, Rothschild & Co, said:
“We are delighted to be part of the REX innovation. It aligns with Rothschild & Co’s ethos of capital markets participation for all, and will provide our clients with access to incremental capital.”
REX, which will become RetailBook (www.retailbook.com), is a technology led service connecting banks and retail intermediaries allowing companies to access retail investors through their broker’s website or app. The collaboration of market participants using this service is an important step towards the more equitable inclusion of retail investors in UK capital markets.
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