“There will be Haters.”
So says a recent advert for football boots. It prompts the question whether there also will be lovers of the footwear, and one assumes that the company has the track record to be confident in this regard.
It’s been interesting over the last few weeks to read the London-centric media’s reaction to the fact that AIM is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Much of what has been published has concentrated on the more exotic companies that have let investors down badly and how damage the reputation of the market.
This is certainly something to be taken very seriously and it is important that the Financial Conduct Authority and the London Stock Exchange act – and are seen to act – decisively on these matters.
Less has been said about the success story that is AIM.
The Quoted Companies Alliance has a vested interest in the success of AIM. Many of our members are listed on the market. Indeed, the Quoted Companies Alliance (previously known as the City Group for Smaller Companies) can be rightly proud of its part in encouraging the London Stock Exchange to create AIM after it decided to close the Unlisted Securities Market (the USM).
That closure was said to be due to changes in European rules which blurred the lines between the USM and the main market. Little change there in 20 years!
So what is the track record of AIM’s success story? Well the market has captured the imagination of over 3,500 companies. It has enabled those inspired companies to raise over £90bn to help fulfil their corporate visions. Sales revenue of the companies on AIM adds up to £50bn.
Over 430,000 people are employed by AIM companies. And another 130,000 are indirectly employed as a result of these companies. If the market did not exist then much of these sales and many of these jobs would not exist.
All these statistics come from an excellent report by Grant Thornton, ‘The Economic Impact of AIM’.
There are many great examples of companies that have flourished on AIM and that have used the market very effectively. Yorkshire has 35 companies on AIM with a market capitalisation of £276.8m.
I chaired a panel at the London Stock Exchange’s AIM conference which included Chris Spencer from Leeds-based EMIS Group. As he says in the accompanying AIM 20 report: “The accountability that comes with being quoted on AIM emphasises how seriously we take our role as an organisation that can lead the development of a digital healthcare economy with the power to improve lives.” AIM has the power to improve lives by enabling companies to raise money, create jobs and significant wealth for communities and shareholders.
There may be haters but I’m sure that the quieter, more thoughtful onlookers will see that AIM has done a great job over the last 20 years.
With help from the Quoted Companies Alliance along the way!