How auctions work: the basics

Auctions are a widely accepted method for transparently and fairly defining the market price for financial products.

Investors can bid (to buy) or offer (to sell) financial products at auctions.

The final price of financial products is determined by the total supply and demand from buyers and sellers at each auction, except where a fixed price is stated.

No trades are completed until the end of the auction and all buyers and sellers pay or receive the same fair price for the financial products.

Trades are allocated to successful auction participants, using our simple priority queue.

Bids and offers

Currently, all bids and offers are ‘limit orders’, which means they are an order to buy or sell the financial products at the specific price or a better price. Other simple order types will be coming soon.


Bids are an offer to buy up to a maximum number of financial products, at the specified price or below.


Offers are an offer to sell up to a maximum number of financial products, at the specified price or above.

This means buyers will never pay more than their bid price, and sellers will never receive less than their offer price - but both buyers and sellers have the potential for a better price than their bid or offer.


For more technical information on how a ‘fair’ price is calculated, have a read of our page on how auctions work.

The auction process


Auction pre-open

Businesses on the Catalist Public Market are required to provide comprehensive information before each auction, so that investors have everything they need to make good investment decisions.

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Auction open

When an auction is open, investors can submit bids (to buy) and offers (to sell) the relevant financial products. Investors can also amend or cancel bids and offers, during this period.

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Auction pre-close

During the pre-closing period, only investors who submitted a bid or offer in the open period can submit a new bid or offer – and only to improve it – not to reduce or cancel it. This allows investors to react to any late bids or offers, with the knowledge that those bids and offers can’t be cancelled at the last moment.

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Auction closed

Provisional auction results are made available after the auction has closed. Investors with successful bids or offers are legally obligated to complete their transaction and we may complete the transaction on their behalf.

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Interested in reading about the more technical side of our auction process?