SoftBank to let people invest in IPOs with as little as $13

TOKYO • SoftBank Corp's brokerage unit plans to do something that may be a first in capital markets. It will allow individuals in Japan to participate in initial public offerings (IPOs) with as little as a 1,000 yen note (S$13) - worth a bit less than a 10 US dollar bill.

One Tap BUY, controlled by the wireless unit of investment giant SoftBank Group, is preparing to start offering such sales as early as March next year after obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals.

This will mark the first time that investors will be able to subscribe to an IPO by investment amount rather than specified number of shares, said One Tap BUY chief executive officer Masaaki Uchiyama.

"The only thing investors want to know is how much they can gain from US$10," he said.

SoftBank is going up against competition from Line and Rakuten in the race to tap individuals through financial services. Line started an online brokerage with Japan's biggest bank Nomura Holdings this week, while Rakuten last month announced it will start lending and issuing credit cards in the United States. All three are aiming to create and expand new markets.

One Tap BUY will seek an IPO of its own in the next three to five years, the CEO said. Ahead of that, the company plans to raise as much as 3 billion yen from investors by March next year to expand its brokerage operation, he added.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2019, with the headline 'SoftBank to let people invest in IPOs with as little as $13'. Print Edition | Subscribe