'Propositions put forward by quite honest men’: company prospectuses and their contents, 1856 to 1940

Rutterford, Janette (2011). 'Propositions put forward by quite honest men’: company prospectuses and their contents, 1856 to 1940. Business History, 53(6) pp. 866–899.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2011.590932

Abstract

This paper explores the history of the new issue prospectus on the London Stock Exchange from the advent of limited liability to World War II. The varying types of securities being offered to an increasingly large public influenced the nature of the information provided, and the increasing maturity of the new issue market allowed comparisons to be made with other companies and valuation ‘norms’ to be established. The paper concludes that the signalling role of the new issue prospectus was key in the lightly regulated markets of the time and that information disclosure improved well in advance of regulatory requirements.

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