Tags: JOBS | investment | banks | IPO

NYT: JOBS Act Lets Analysts Give Rave Reviews of Start-Ups, Shop for IPOs

By    |   Wednesday, 21 August 2013 08:05 AM

The Jump Start Our Business Start-Ups (JOBS) Act allows investment bank analysts to give raving reviews of start-ups so their banks can win lucrative IPO business, according to The New York Times.

That's exactly what helped create the dot-com bubble, The Times warns in an editorial.

Regulations enacted following the dot-com crash prohibit analysts from helping solicit investing banking business. But the JOBS Act enacted last year watered down the rule by allowing analysts to attend meetings between banks and "emerging growth" companies, defined as having less than $1 billion in revenue, The Times notes. They're still not supposed to help solicit business for the bank.

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More companies are interviewing analysts as they seek an investment bank to run their IPO, and IPO consultants say those meetings are only to collect information about general market trends.

But not everyone buys that.

"If you are going to see the people who are screening the underwriters you are there for one purpose, to win banking business,” an unnamed Wall Street analyst tells The Times.

Some experts think banks cross the line.

"The walls between research and banking can still be porous," Jay Ritter, a University of Florida professor and IPO expert, tells The Times. "It doesn’t surprise me that there has perhaps been some backsliding."

Here we go again, The Times editorial board argues.

"The result was to deceive investors, while inflating a bubble that burst with disastrous consequences," the Times states.

The conflict of interest is especially disconcerting because the IPO market is heating up, The Times warns.

Numerous provisions of JOBS Act make going public simpler and cheaper for emerging companies and have drawn praise from companies using its looser rules.

"Who in heaven’s name thought that it was a good idea to make IPOs easier in the first place?" asks Bloomberg editor Mark Gimein. "The basic problem with IPOs isn’t that they are too hard. It’s that they are too easy."

If companies can't handle the already low bar for IPOs, they shouldn't be trying to go public in the first place, he says. The Act probably benefits investment banks handling IPOs more than it does long-term investors.

"There have always been plenty of startups eager to tap the public markets early in their development," he adds. "That doesn’t mean investors or regulators are wise to let them."

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The Jump Start Our Business Start-Ups (JOBS) Act allows investment bank analysts to give raving reviews of start-ups so their banks can win lucrative IPO business, according to The New York Times.
JOBS,investment,banks,IPO
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2013-05-21
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 08:05 AM
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