The FINANCIAL -- The Alternative Investment Market (AIM) has established itself as the world’s leading stock market for young growing companies, according to new research published by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
The study, From Local to Global – The rise of AIM as a stock market for growing companies, was commissioned by the London Stock Exchange and conducted by Geoffrey Owen, senior fellow in the Department of Management, Professor Julia Black, professor of Law, Law Department, and Sridhar Arcot, a researcher in the Financial Markets Group, LSE.
From Local to Global reviews the growth and development of AIM since its inception in 1995, including an assessment of the quality of the market and the evolution of its regulatory framework. The report documents the rapid expansion of the market both domestically and internationally; since 1995 some 2,300 British and 400 foreign companies have come to AIM, raising a total of £49 billion, of which over 40 per cent has been in the form of further issues.
Key findings include:
Distinctive regulation – the competitive strength of AIM lies partly in its distinctive regulatory system which is tailored to the needs of smaller companies and partly in its location within the City of London.
Broad market profile – AIM has matured since the collapse of the dot.com boom and now attracts a wide range of investors, including some of the world’s leading institutions. There is a need to attract more investment from the countries in which non-British companies are based;
Strong after-market performance – an analysis of after-market returns on new admissions since 2000 suggests that, on average, investors in new AIM companies have out performed the wider market;
Low failure rates – although a large proportion of AIM companies are early-stage businesses and/or operating in high-risk sectors, the failure rate on AIM is low, running at less than three per cent in the last four years;
Strong liquidity for larger securities – with an average monthly trading volume of just over 20 million shares, liquidity in the shares of the larger AIM companies is comparable to that of similar-sized companies on the Main
Market; the introduction of the new trading system SETSmm, succeeded in its purpose of increasing liquidity and reducing spreads on the largest stocks;
Supports UK enterprise – AIM continues to provide vital support for the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprise sector, including companies based in the regions;
The report also shows that the amount of capital raised on AIM has increased sharply in the last few years, rising from £2 billion in 2003 to £15.7 billion in 2006 and that income for the City generated by AIM is estimated to be running at around £1 billion a year, of which about half comes from non-British companies.
“The growth of AIM has been a great success for the City of London, and reflects the soundness of the regulatory regime that was put in place at the start”, Sir Geoffrey Owen, one of the authors of the report, said. “The character of the market has clearly changed in the last few years, with the introduction of more foreign companies and the new property and equity investment entities, and this is one of the factors that led the London Stock Exchange to formalize the rules for AIM’s Nominated Advisors and to strengthen AIM’s regulatory capacity. But the regulatory framework continues to provide ample scope for market-led innovation and flexibility, which have been the keys to AIM’s success.”
“We welcome this incisive report from LSE. It highlights the unique qualities of AIM, including its principles-based regulatory system, which have provided investors with access to excellent returns against a backdrop of low failure rates”, Clara Furse, Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange, said.
“We concur with LSE’s concluding observation that the core mission of AIM is likely to remain what it has been from the start, to provide a market for small and medium-sized companies which are ambitious to grow and need capital for expansion.”