Were 2021 stock market debutantes flyers or flops?


This year has been a record for companies floating on the stock market – with more than 100 firms listing in London. 

Companies stood brave in the face of the pandemic and the number that floated was more than the two previous years combined. 

The boom came despite grim predictions that the City would lose its status as Europe’s premier financial centre after Brexit. 

Cheers: Darktrace boss Poppy Gustafsson (far right) celebrated but Deliveroo¿s Will Shu (centre) and  Pension Bee¿s Romi Savova (above left) had much to ponder

Cheers: Darktrace boss Poppy Gustafsson (far right) celebrated but Deliveroo’s Will Shu (centre) and  Pension Bee’s Romi Savova (above left) had much to ponder

The flurry of floats created big windfalls for a handful of fortunate entrepreneurs, but not all have delivered a good performance for share buyers. 

Poppy Gustafsson, 39, the chief executive at tech giant Darktrace, has been one of the winners after its shares took off since its listing in April.

But another of the UK’s leading young businesswomen has been less lucky. Shares in Pension Bee, run by 35-yearold former investment banker Romi Savova have dived as investors and fund managers question whether the pensions app will ever turn a profit. 

More than 50 companies listed in London on the main market, the most in any year since 2017. Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) on the junior AIM market have also dramatically increased, jumping from 16 in 2020 to 55 in 2021, the highest number since 2014. 

Financial services firms topped the rankings, while tech companies also did well as Chancellor Rishi Sunak slashed regulation in a bid to stop entrepreneurs floating their firms in the US. Here are some of the champs – and a few of the chumps. 

WINNERS 

BRIDGEPOINT

Boss: William Jackson 

Age: 58 

Date floated: July 

Up: 37 per cent

Their predatory ways may have attracted criticism but shares in listed private equity firms have performed well over the past couple of years. 

Bridgepoint has been no different. Its shares soared on their debut and have been moving higher ever since. 

Founded in 2000 by David Shaw and William Jackson after a management buyout from Natwest Equity Partners, Bridgepoint raised £300m at its IPO.

That valued it at £3.7billion at the time, netting multiple millions for its 144 partners and top executives who own 80 per cent. 

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