Celebrating Your IPO During a Pandemic

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The process of an initial public offering typically requires tons of work and can take months or even years to complete. The day a company begins trading on a national stock exchange is a great reason to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate than ringing the opening or closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City? Standing on the podium overlooking the bustling NYSE trading floor or being in the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square on the first day of trading are experiences no one should pass up. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the NYSE and Nasdaq to temporarily postpone their usual in-person bell ringing ceremonies. While these virtual events may not be the same experience as physically being in New York City, both the NYSE and Nasdaq have developed excellent alternative programs so that companies can still celebrate their big day.

The New York Stock Exchange has taken a hybrid approach to its bell ringing. The NYSE has incorporated two large monitors behind the bell ringing podium that can display company artwork and a live video feed from the invited company. There is also the option of having a small number of people visit the NYSE and be on the podium to ring the bell. NYSE photographers are present for photos, and the bell ringing is live streamed via the NYSE’s website.

The virtual Nasdaq MarketSite bell-ringing and first trade ceremony has been designed to be very similar to its in-person ceremony, with brief speeches given by an executive from Nasdaq and a member of the invited company, streaming of corporate videos and photos, and lots and lots of clapping. In order to make this process run as smoothly as possible, Nasdaq has developed an event app tailored for this virtual experience. This app allows up to 3,000 guests to log in and participate in the virtual ceremony. One very cool feature of the virtual ceremony and corresponding app is the ability to upload photos and short videos and have them displayed the Nasdaq tower in Times Square. Not only will this app live stream the Nasdaq tower, but Nasdaq will also take videos and photos of the tower while the company’s media are being displayed. To commemorate the day, Nasdaq will send the participating company digital versions on the video and photos taken of the Nasdaq Tower during the celebration. Nasdaq is also offering a hybrid version of its bell ringing ceremonies, with one or two people from the company ringing the bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite and the remaining group participating virtually via the event app.

Ringing the opening or closing bell in-person at the NYSE or Nasdaq is an event that should not be missed. However, the virtual ceremonies the exchanges have designed are excellent, and we recommend our clients take advantage of these programs to celebrate their hard work. As a side note, ask your listing exchange to add your company to the list of in-person bell ringing ceremonies, as the participation of a virtual bell ringing ceremony does not preclude your company from future bell ringing ceremonies.

For additional information on how to arrange an exchange bell ringing ceremony, please contact our team. Visiting the NYSE and Nasdaq and watching the excitement of our clients during these celebrations never gets old.

The New York Stock Exchange bells ring for different durations: the opening bell sounds for 10 seconds, and the closing bell rings for 15 seconds.

Greg Chodaczek, Managing Director

Serge Yusim, Analyst

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