An order that an investor makes to an underwriter before a new issue. Before a new issue, underwriters canvass potential investors, who may or may not book a tentative order to buy a portion. Tentative orders are not final until the new issue actually takes place, because it is illegal to sell a security that has not been issued. Tentative orders help underwriters gauge the level of interest in the new issue. See also: Overbooked, Underbooked, Fully Subscribed.
A customer order that is made for part of a new securities issue before all the terms of the issue have been set. Underwriters take tentative orders to determine investor interest in a new issue. This practice assists the underwriters in pricing and sizing the issue.