What's the process for designing a prospectus?

If you're planning to list publicly and need some help designing your prospectus, we've answered some of the questions we're commonly asked about the process.

What is a prospectus?

When a company intends to list on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), they make an Initial Public Offer (IPO). A prospectus is a document that supports the offer by providing information to potential investors on the background, financial and management status of the company. The ASX website has more detailed information about listing.

What information do I need to include in my prospectus?

A prospectus must include all information that investors and their advisers would need to make an informed assessment of the assets, liabilities, financial position, profits and losses, and prospects of the organisation, as well as the rights attaching to the shares. Evidence to support this can include independent audits, legal reports, risk analyses and independent experts’ reports, so the prospectus document can end up being quite long.

Why do I need a graphic designer to design my prospectus?

Our job as designers is to help you present all this information in a way that is visually appealing, easy to read and not overwhelming. At Bluekat we have had many years of experience in designing corporate publications, so we know what works.

You want people to invest in your company, and you have a better chance of success if you present a professional image. We often develop a brand identity for listing companies prior to preparing their prospectus, so you will have a consistent image with logo, stationery, website and document templates ready to go as soon as you start trading.

How long does it take to design a prospectus?

Most people are keen to lodge their prospectus as soon as possible, but they underestimate the time involved. Bluekat has a reputation for our fast turnaround – we don’t expect to get much sleep when we’re working on a prospectus! But with the number of people involved in the process, including the company’s Board of Directors, independent advisers and solicitors, there are often many rounds of changes before the document is finalised. We usually recommend allowing 3–4 weeks for this process.

Remember that prospectuses are important legal documents, so every word and every number must be right, and there is no room for cutting corners. It is just as important to us that there are no mistakes, so we always proof read the document and we will flag any errors or inconsistencies with you.

Can I just lodge a Word version of my prospectus with ASIC so we can avoid having to pass all the changes through the designer?

ASIC generally prefers to see the prospectus in its final form, including the cover design and any images, as they may comment on or require amendments to these elements.

How soon can I get my printed copies?

While it would be nice to have printed copies available as soon as you’ve signed off on the document, unfortunately that’s not realistic. Once the prospectus is lodged with ASIC, the company cannot accept subscriptions under the prospectus for a period of 7 days (the exposure period). ASIC can extend this period to 14 days and require amendments to the document.

Once we send the prospectus to print, it takes at least two days for proofs to be generated. These need to be checked and signed off, and it then takes 7–10 working days for printing, binding and delivery.

Due to these timeframes, it can be tempting to go to print as soon as the prospectus is lodged with ASIC. However, printing before the end of the exposure period is inherently risky – if ASIC requires amendments to the prospectus then you can waste a lot of money on a reprint and no time is ultimately saved. We generally recommend doing a short digital print run (50–100 copies) during the exposure period, so these will be available to use as soon as the exposure period ends, and printing the main order only after the exposure period ends.

Contact us for more information or a quote on your upcoming prospectus.