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The Role of Institutional Investors in Initial Public Offerings


  • Thomas J. Chemmanur
  • Gang Hu
  • Jiekun Huang


In this article, we use a large sample of transaction-level institutional trading data to analyze the role of institutional investors in initial public offerings (IPOs). The theoretical literature on IPOs has long argued that institutional investors possess private information about IPOs and that underpricing is a mechanism for compensating them to reveal this private information. We study whether institutions indeed have private information about IPOs, retain their information advantage in post-IPO trading, and are able to realize significant profits from their participation in IPOs. We also study institutional IPO allocations and allocation sales to analyze whether institutions play an important role in supporting IPOs in the aftermarket and are rewarded by underwriters for playing such a role. We find that institutions sell 70.2% of their IPO allocations in the first year, fully realize the "money left on the table," and do not dissipate these profits in post-IPO trading. Further, institutions hold allocations in IPOs with weaker post-issue demand for a longer period, and they are rewarded for this by underwriters with more IPO allocations. Finally, institutional trading has predictive power for long-run IPO performance, especially in IPOs in which they received allocations; however, this predictive power decays over time. Overall, our results suggest that institutional investors possess significant private information about IPOs, play an important supportive role in the IPO aftermarket, and receive considerable compensation for their participation in IPOs. The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Chemmanur & Gang Hu & Jiekun Huang, 2010. "The Role of Institutional Investors in Initial Public Offerings," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(12), pages 4496-4540, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:23:y:2010:i:12:p:4496-4540

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    1. Xiang, Erwei & Tian, Gloria Y. & Yang, Fan & Liu, Zhiyuan, 2014. "Do mutual funds have information advantage? Evidence from seasoned equity offerings in China," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 70-79.
    2. Cécile Carpentier & Jean-Marc Suret, 2009. "The Canadian Public Venture Capital Market," CIRANO Working Papers 2009s-08, CIRANO.
    3. Bajo, Emanuele & Chemmanur, Thomas J. & Simonyan, Karen & Tehranian, Hassan, 2016. "Underwriter networks, investor attention, and initial public offerings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 376-408.
    4. Anderson, Christopher W. & Huang, Jian, 2017. "Institutional investment in IPOs and post-IPO M&A activity," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1-18.
    5. repec:eee:corfin:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:1-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Chang, Kiyoung & Kim, Yong-Cheol & Kim, Young Sang & Thornton, John H., 2012. "Unintended regulatory consequences: Evidence from the Korean IPOs," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 292-309.
    7. Krigman, Laurie & Jeffus, Wendy, 2016. "IPO pricing as a function of your investment banks' past mistakes: The case of Facebook," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 335-344.
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    10. Massimo G. Colombo & Kourosh Shafi, 2016. "The impact of patenting on the size of high-tech firms: the role of venture capital and product market regulation," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(1), pages 85-103, March.
    11. Bajo, Emanuele & Barbi, Massimiliano & Petrella, Giovanni, 2017. "Do firms get what they pay for? A second thought on over-allotment option in IPOs," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 219-232.
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