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Allocation discretion, price discounts and returns in Turkish initial public offerings

Lokman Tutuncu (Department of Business, Zonguldak Bulent Ecevit Universitesi, Zonguldak, Turkey)

International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management

ISSN: 1753-8394

Article publication date: 30 November 2021




This study aims to investigate whether underwriters exercise their allocation discretion to offer favorable discounts to institutional investors.


The research covers 173 offerings at Borsa Istanbul between 2010 and September 2021. Two hypotheses related to allocation discretion are developed and tested by means of probit, ordinary least squares and two-stage least squares regressions. Heckman selection regressions are used for robustness tests.


Allocation discretion is catered toward institutional investors who account for more than 56% of all initial allocations adjusted by gross proceeds. Close to 84% of all gross proceeds come from offerings that allocation discretion is exercised. These discretionary offerings are sold with larger price discounts, yet provide lower initial returns, while evidence points to reallocation to retail investors due to weak demand from institutional investors.

Research limitations/implications

Despite using the population of firms in the research period, the sample size is small relative to more developed markets. The research period cannot be extended because allocation discretion is allowed in 2010.

Practical implications

The research highlights the importance of institutional and foreign investors to the equity markets. This issue is relevant due to the ongoing flight of foreign investors from emerging economies and the increasing participation of small investors in the stock markets.

Social implications

The study cautions retail investors against greater (re)allocations by underwriters who may seek to compensate for the loss of their foreign investor base and urges policymakers to regain foreign investors.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first research paper to use actual discounts disclosed in the prospectus to test the predictions related to allocation discretion. The study also contributes to the emerging markets literature by documenting allocation practices of the Turkish underwriters for the first time.



Tutuncu, L. (2021), "Allocation discretion, price discounts and returns in Turkish initial public offerings", International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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