AIM: something to celebrate

By the end of April this year there were 1,028 UK companies and 138 international companies on AIM. The proceeding year was the market’s most successful so far, with a record number of admissions and a record amount of money raised on both the primary and secondary markets.

Accountancy Age readers will probably already know that AIM has been specifically designed for the needs of smaller and growing companies with no minimum trading record, no minimum market capitalisation, and no shareholder approval required for most transactions.

But to fully understand why AIM has been so successful, it needs to be looked at from an investor’s perspective. For investors to have confidence in AIM, they must know that the flexible regulatory requirements that make life simpler for companies do not mean low regulatory requirements.

This is why we have always demanded that companies on AIM maintain a nominated adviser at all times. As the market has continues to grow, we are significantly increasing the regulatory resources devoted to AIM. We recently refined the requirements for investing companies joining the market, and have appointed an expert committee to advise on the particular demands of financing for oil and gas companies.

Investors also need benchmarks to assist their decision-making. In May, we launched a new series of indices with FTSE, replacing the old AIM index which had become unrepresentative of the market today. The new indices; the FTSE AIM UK 50, the FTSE AIM 100 and the FTSE AIM All-Share, will increase the visibility and investibility of AIM as a whole and allow the creation of trading products, helping to enhance liquidity for AIM companies.

Ten years ago, AIM launched with a handful of companies, much excitement and uncertain prospects. Today, the opportunities it offers are as exciting as ever, but the market has truly emerged as a mainstream asset class.

Martin Graham is head of AIM

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