Peel Hunt joins forces with rival brokers to launch retail capital markets and IPO investment platform
Peel Hunt is set to launch a new independent retail investment platform alongside other brokers in the second half of 2023, as it seeks to broaden access to capital markets amongst retail investors.
The investment bank will establish RetailBook as a new legal entity which will own and operate a deal platform based on Peel Hunt’s existing REX technology.
REX is Peel Hunt’s retail access technology platform, which enables retail investors to participate in capital markets transactions such as IPOs and follow-on share offerings.
Peel Hunt CEO Steven Fine told City AM that while REX has been connecting buyers and sellers in capital markets for years, RetailBook will make secondary transactions easier for retail investors as well. “That’s what we’ve been able to crack,” he said.
Since August 2022 REX has been involved in 50 per cent of all completed UK equity capital markets transactions with a retail component. Going back to 2015, it has generated over £450m of demand from retail investors.
The plans coincide with the government’s agenda to “reassert the UK’s preeminence in financial markets”, as Fine put it, and a big part of that is “enabling retail investment”.
The government is attempting to push a broader reformist agenda, driving retail investment in capital markets in an attempt to enable fair access and ensure they democratise capital markets.
The new platform will be independent and have its own separate headquarters after launch. It will also be staffed independently of Peel Hunt.
The aim of the RetailBook is to “build a network that will become an industry utility,” Fine said.
But he noted that “Peel Hunt can’t do that on its own…it has to be an independent product.” This was “best done through alignment with key players in the UK capital markets”.
Peel Hunt has made agreements with Hargreaves Lansdown, Jefferies, Numis and Rothschild to bring RetailBook to market.
Under the respective agreements, Hargreaves Lansdown has granted REX a period of exclusivity until 30 June 2023. Jefferies, Numis and Rothschild have agreed to collaborate with and promote REX and/or RetailBook.
In exchange, each of Hargreaves Lansdown, Jefferies, Numis and Rothschild will become shareholders in the new independent RetailBook.