Become a Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)®. Enroll today to advance your career!
Login to your new FMVA dashboard today!

Equity Syndicate

A group of investors who come together to determine the price and sell new IPOs to the public

What is an Equity Syndicate?

An equity syndicate refers to a group of investors who come together to determine the price and sell new IPOs to the public. The syndicate takes various considerations such as risk and the financial status of the company when deciding on the price of the floated IPO. Equity syndicates are generally formed when the issue is too large to be managed by a single firm, and therefore, combining the efforts of several firms helps sell the new offerings of equity quickly.


Equity Syndicate


The syndicate is headed by a lead underwriter who is responsible for directing the initial public stock offering. The typical members of an equity syndicate are the senior executives of investment banks. The members’ profit from the underwriting spread. The spread is obtained from the price difference on the share price paid to the issuer and actual price that is charged from selling to the public.


How equity syndicate works

Since the equity syndicate members are committed to selling all the stocks on offer, they must buy shares from the issuer and sell them to the public. The practice subjects them to the risk of price decline, because the price may fluctuate between the time of purchasing them from the issuer and the time of selling them to the public. They mitigate this risk by spreading out the risk among all members of the syndicate.


Lead Underwriter

The lead underwriter in the syndicate receives a significant proportion of the underwriting spread than the other members of the syndicate for taking charge of the underwriting process. It is responsible for ensuring that all regulatory requirements by FINRA or the Securities and Exchange Commission are met. The lead underwriter is responsible for allocating stocks to each member of the syndicate according to their financial capability and preferences. Also, it heads negotiations on the offering price and the timing of the offer.

Some members of the syndicate may receive a higher number of stocks than others, and therefore, higher proportions of the underwriting spread. To avoid any disagreements about the sharing method, members of the syndicate usually sign an agreement that indicates the number of stocks allocated, fees, and their rights and obligations.


Price vs demand of the IPO

Once the IPO’s been floated and made public, there tends to be a higher demand for the stocks at the onset. In some cases, the demand for shares may exceed the supply, which will push up prices that investors must pay to become shareholders in the issuers’ company. It will then be followed by price swings as demand decreases. The demand is therefore only fulfilled once the shares start trading on the stock exchange, as individual investors start buying and selling stocks to their fellow investors.


The process of determining the IPO Price

There are several steps involved when determining the price of an IPO. First, the underwriters seek pricing information from sales personnel who are experienced in IPOs, stock trading, and analyzing growth prospects. The syndicate members will then convene a meeting where only members are allowed to participate.

The members use a closed bidding process to determine the price of the equity IPO. After the members agree on an IPO price, the syndicate members are then allocated a percentage of shares before the IPO is floated in the market. Once the IPO is issued in the market, the syndicate members also share the profits or losses depending on the changes in the IPO price.


Who is the lead underwriter

The lead underwriter is an investment bank that is tasked with directing the IPO on behalf of the issuing company. The lead underwriter leads an equity syndicate comprising other investment banks who help in pushing the IPO in the market. Once the offer has been publicized, the IPO is sold to the large customers such as institutional firms and retail clients who have a substantial capital to invest.

During the issue, there is usually a lot of hype surrounding the offer, which increases the demand for the stocks. In return, the lead underwriter takes advantage of the excess demand to create an over-allotment, which results in more capital for the client and more commissions for the investment bank leading the issue.

The primary responsibility of the lead underwriter is to determine the final offering price. Setting the right price is important since this will influence how easy or hard it will be to sell the shares to interested investors. The price will also determine how much money the stock issuer will obtain from the issue.


More resources

CFI is the official provider of the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, designed to transform anyone into a world-class financial analyst. To keep learning and developing your knowledge of financial analysis, we highly recommend the additional resources below:

  • Capital Raising Process
  • Overallotment
  • IPO Process
  • Roadshow Presentation

Corporate Finance Training

Advance your career in investment banking, private equity, FP&A, treasury, corporate development and other areas of corporate finance.

Enroll in CFI’s Finance Courses to take your career to the next level! Learn step-by-step from professional Wall Street instructors today.