Neil Matthews provides an elegant defence of London’s Alternative Investment Market (“Aim’s rules are wide in scope and carefully drafted to protect market”, Letters, September 9). More specifically, he might also have mentioned that since the 2018 revision of the Aim rules, companies must apply a “recognised corporate governance code” and comment on compliance therewith.
Such adoption provides the framework for better dialogue and challenge in company boards as well as a raised level of engagement with shareholders. Nonetheless, Aim is not perfect and there are almost certainly improvements that could be made for the benefit of investors, market operators, regulators and companies.
Two key characteristics of a public market must be access to capital and liquidity, both of which would likely be a challenge for a good number of companies on this market. Aim brokers may need to revisit their modus operandi so as to better access family offices and private individuals. Whether or not due to Mifid II, poor or non-existent access to research and the proliferation of the seemingly unregulated “bulletin boards” do not help serious private investors.
Private investors are often better positioned to offer after-market support and necessary trading liquidity rather than the event-driven “buy then hold” strategy of institutions. There has been a lot of comment in the FT of late lamenting the demise of the public equity markets on both sides of the Atlantic as investors see private equity as being a more attractive option. Against this trend it is important Aim fulfils its brief of providing a well functioning “alternative”.
Barry T Gamble
London N1, UK
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