UPDATE: iSelect slides after IPO

Insurance comparison group iSelect Ltd has fallen sharply in its debut trading session on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Insurance comparison group iSelect Ltd has fallen sharply in its debut trading session on the Australian Securities Exchange.

The group started trading at 1200 AEST at $1.76, well below the offer price of $1.85, which iSelect estimated would give it a market capitalisation at listing of about $479.3 million.

By 1415 AEST, iSelect shares had fallen 9.7% to trade at $1.67, against a benchmark fall of 1.2%. 

In the first hour of trade, iSelect shares hit a high of $1.78, and slipped as low as $1.55. 

IG market strategist Evan Lucas said iSelect had strong competition from the privately-owned comparethemarket.com.au, along with the prospect of big insurers like Insurance Australia Group, AMP and Suncorp starting their own comparison websites.

"The technology that iSelect is offering is not groundbreaking and it's not as hard as it looks," he said.

"It does look like iSelect may struggle over the next coming months."

Mr Lucas said low barriers to enter the insurance comparison market would have seen iSelect struggle, even on a day when the share market was rallying.

The company raised $215.1 million through the issue or sale of 116.4 million ordinary, fully-paid shares at $1.85
iSelect is the 81st listing this financial year, bringing the total number of ASX-listed companies to 2,187.

Executive chairman and co-founder of iSelect Damien Waller said the successful completion of the group's initial public offering was a major milestone.

"Since I co-founded iSelect 13 years ago, we have grown from a small businessthat offered comparison of private health insurance products, into an established company offering comparison services across a range of additional categories, including life insurance, car insurance, home loans, broadband, energy and personal financial products," he said.

"In the process we have evolved to become a leading online comparison service and today, an ASX-listed company.

"We see a great deal of opportunity and growth ahead of us and what draws the iSelect team together is our shared commitment to innovation, customer service, and growth."

One of those opportunities could be a  move into superannuation products as well as potential acquisitions in the home loans, broadband and utilities sectors, The Australian reported. 

According to the newspaper, chief executive Matthew McCann said the group was considering a move into the Australian superannuation sector as a long-term source of revenue, but added the regulatory system "has to sort itself out" before it moved ahead with any plans.

"We have taken a view over time that there is scope for a play in the superannuation market. That is probably down the track," Mr McCann said, according to The Australian.

"We have looked at a range of ways we could bring our skills and experience to use in the super sector. We are not that far advanced in terms of market implementation.

"But the reason we like it is because it is a market that seems to be characterised by a lot of inertia, not a great deal of understanding of the product underneath.

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