British Companies Targeting US Retail Investors


Nearly 30 firms that are either headquartered in the U.K. or have stock market listings in the region have registered for two major “over-the-counter” markets operated by OTC Markets Group, which allows U.S. investors to buy their shares, according to a Financial Times report Tuesday (Dec. 28).

That’s more than twice the number of U.K. companies that registered for the premium OTCQX and venture-focused OTCQB markets, two similar U.S. trading venues, in 2020, the FT report says.

“U.S. retail investors are more familiar with technology stocks and tend to be a little bit ahead of the game on opportunities around growth stocks,” said Peter Wall, chief executive of London-based cryptocurrency mining firm Argo Blockchain.

U.S. trading had a “significant impact” on demand for shares in Argo Blockchain, which runs several bitcoin mining facilities.

Argo’s market capitalization rose from about 25 million pounds ($33.7 million) before its shares began trading in the U.S. to more than 500 million pounds ($674 million).

The U.S. market presents a much larger pool of capital than the U.K., said Wall, adding there’s “more risk appetite among a larger portion of that population.”

U.S. retail stock traders have caught the eye of a broad swath of U.K. suitors in 2021, from small mining companies to online retailers including Naked Wines.

Related: JPMorgan’s British Retail Bank Chase Expanding Staff, Product Suite

Earlier this month, J.P. Morgan’s British retail bank, Chase, announced it will continue to expand its staff as part of a strategy to move into investment and savings services by integrating its acquired digital wealth manager Nutmeg and to roll out its consumer lending product suite.

Chase will add hundreds of people to its staff next year, bringing its workforce total over 1,000 people. Sanoke Viswanathan, CEO of J.P. Morgan’s international consumer business, told Reuters that Chase has hired 200 people since adding increased digital offerings in September.

Chase will add staffers at its London headquarters and at its support centers in Edinburgh, Scotland and Manila, Philippines.