Loose Change

PRIVATE INVESTORS will be able to take part in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) over the internet in an entirely paper-free process from next year, courtesy of Swedish-based EPO.com.

EPO says the complete issue process, from publication of a prospectus to registration and then distribution of shares, will be carried out online, creating a new form of Electronic Public Offering - the "EPO".

This will enable customers with hundreds rather than thousands of pounds to take advantage of the IPO market, a sector dominated until now by giant institutions. EPO.com also claims that doing everything over the net will cut costs and be faster than traditional methods and enable small hi-tech start-ups to tap the captital markets without using an investment bank.

The EPO.com weekly newsletter which is researched and written in London, offers details on imminent IPOs. It is available free on www.epo.com. The company plans to carry out the first ever EPO in the UK early next year.

EPO.com was launched in Sweden in September 1998 by EPOS Capital AB, based in Stockholm. The company has 12,500 retail investors on its database.