Debt Free Direct is the father of the Aim personal insolvency sector. It floated in December 2002 at 40p a share. The price shot up last year to a peak of 595p, but has fallen back sharply to 267p.

Accuma Group then arrived on the market in March 2005 at a price of 82p, followed by Debtmatters in June the same year at 70p. The shares closed yesterday at 84½p and 167p respectively., which floated last May at 160p with strong demand, closed at 118½p. Invocas, which operates under different regulations in the Scottish market, has not escaped the market backlash. It floated at 111p in March last year, and the shares closed down 6 per cent at 149p.

Two other Aim companies offer IVAs – Compass Finance and ClearDebt, the smallest with a market capitalisation of £9m. Compass shares closed unchanged at 28p, while ClearDebt’s fell 12 per cent to 2¾p.

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