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Digital bank launches Gulf’s first IPO subscription service

A woman uses her mobile at Dubai Financial Market. Savers can now invest in IPOs via a banking app Reuters/Christopher Pike
A woman uses her mobile at Dubai Financial Market. Savers can now invest in IPOs via a banking app
  • Paperless journey for investors from subscription to payment
  • Platform aims to support investor participation for upcoming listings
  • 31 IPOs so far this year in Mena, raising $14.7 billion

Customers of online bank Liv. can now subscribe to an IPO in its app, a first for a digital lender in the region.

Liv., which is owned by Dubai’s Emirates NBD, is launching a digital platform that will allow investors to register their interest for upcoming IPOs and will provide information on individual listings, such as dates and ways to subscribe.

Customers will also be able to pay for their investments within the app.

The initiative, launched in collaboration with Dubai Financial Market, follows the launch in March of Emirates NBD’s end-to-end IPO subscription website for individual investors. The website offers real-time subscription payment capabilities for UAE investors and wire transfer capabilities for those outside the Emirates.

“With financial awareness taking centre stage and the investment landscape ripening, IPOs are becoming a popular investment option among our customer base,” said Pedro Sousa Cardoso, chief digital officer for retail banking and wealth management at Emirates NBD. 

The Liv. service comes against the backdrop of strong growth in the Mena IPO market during the first nine months of 2022, bucking the global IPO downturn.

According to the latest EY Mena IPO Eye report, Mena markets witnessed a 288 percent annual increase in the number of companies listing between January and September, raising $14.7 billion in total. This is up 550 percent on the same period last year.

The strong run across the region’s markets included seven IPOs in Q3, raising approximately $1.5 billion, bringing the total number of Mena IPOs in the year-to-date to 31.

Experts expect this regional growth to continue, with increased activity in dual listings to tap varied liquidity pools.

Speaking on Tuesday at Abu Dhabi Finance Week, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation, said 95 percent of transactions now happen digitally for most leading banks in the UAE – figures that are “among the top quartile in the world”.

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