Reports from CNBC's David Faber indicate that Twitter's offering was oversubscribed by a multiple of 30. In contrast, interviews show that Facebook's underwriters were putting out calls to small institutional accounts and left large allocations for retail investors in order to fill the mammoth stock offering. Ordinary investors basically had the ability to buy as many Facebook shares as they wanted.As far as I'm concerned this speaks to my outrage over the IPO process. It's a black box for smallish investors. In most cases, particularly the most lucrative ones, they can't get shares at the offer, leading to, as Gara reports, lots of retail activity in a name such as TWTR right out of the gate. Often not a good thing. Meantime, the Facebook IPO was apparently put out in front of hype-consuming, Peter Lynch-influenced and, in many cases, novice or brand new investors. But, hey, let's not balk at the SEC putting so much energy toward the dog and pony motions of chasing insider trading cases. Maintain. The. Status. Quo! That said, I came across an ordinary investor who actually received Twitter shares through his broker at the offer price. In other words, he put in a request and, his brokerage -- TD Ameritrade ( AMTD) -- filled it. Here's his confirmation (though he will not disclose the number of shares he received):
We have not disclosed the amount of our allocation, but as a minor participant you should assume that it was relatively small and that demand far outpaced the supply. All of our allocation went to retail investors - either self-directed investors or the clients of independent registered investment advisors who custody their assets with us.
... TWTR was our top traded equity yesterday, but only amounted to 5% of our clients' total trading volume.
Some added color - we did see a great deal of interest and excitement around this IPO, which was expected given the popularity of the Twitter brand, but it was not at the same levels that we saw when Facebook went public.The TD Ameritrade spokesperson added that, on average, through October 25, 2013, its clients executed approximately 419,000 trades per day in the month of October (as of the 25th). The company released this data in its 10/29 quarterly earnings report. If we assume -- and the TD Ameritrade spokesperson did not confirm this -- that 419,000 trades took place via its platform Thursday, roughly 20,950 would have involved TWTR, using the above-mentioned 5% figure.