In the UK, the main stock market is the London Stock Exchange. This is where public limited companies’ equities and other financial instruments – such as government bonds and ETFs – can be bought and sold by investors.
AiM is also part of the London Stock Exchange, and in the years since its launch in 1995, it has established itself as the leading market – specifically designed to help growing companies access capital from the public market. Today, AiM includes companies operating in more than 100 countries, 40 different sectors and with a combined market capitalisation of over £105 billion.
AiM by Numbers
The History of AiM
AiM was launched to enable smaller companies to gain a listing on a recognised stock exchange, but with less onerous entry and regulatory requirements and ultimately lower costs. However, companies still have to satisfy certain criteria before joining AiM.
As companies grow, the initial external capital – usually provided by friends and family, and/or angel investors – is often not sufficient to sustain their capital requirements. Yet these companies are not necessarily ready for a traditional listing. AiM therefore plays a vital role in the funding environment – by bridging this gap for growing companies, as they seek to develop their business through the use of external finance from capital markets.
In addition to providing access to capital, the London Stock Exchange is committed to supporting the growth of companies by providing access to the right resources, and capital to scale up and achieve their aspirations. AiM’s regulatory structure, tailored to the needs of growing companies, allows businesses to cost-effectively raise capital at admission and throughout their life on AiM.
Over half of all funds raised on AiM have been raised by companies already admitted to the market. This underlines AiM’s credentials as a source of repeat financing for businesses, from a pool of investors that understand the needs and development trajectory of growth companies.
AiM is also a geographically and sector-diverse market, with companies operating in over 100 countries and representing 40 different sectors – ranging from financial services firms to healthcare and technology companies.
Important factors in the success of AiM have been:
- A network of advisers and liquidity providers who understand the needs of growing companies and are able to support them throughout their journey as a public company
- A regulatory approach that recognises the needs and capacities of growth companies
- A diverse and highly knowledgeable investor base that can effectively provide capital to support growing companies
AiM companies have access to a range of institutional investors, a vibrant cohort of retail investors and, thanks to London’s unique status, an unparalleled pool of international capital.
Profile and size of AiM
Whilst AiM was launched initially to meet the needs of small and growing UK companies, the market has become increasingly international. This is not just in terms of investors, but also the number of international companies on the market, which now account for roughly a fifth of all AiM companies.
The international nature of AiM means that companies will join a global peer group that will help to promote their visibility with stakeholders including investors, clients and suppliers. Unlike other growth markets, AiM is not a sector-specific market – there are companies from 40 different industries, reflecting the full spectrum of business activity from across the world.
The increasing scope, profile, size and maturity of AiM has confirmed the validity of the underlying premise upon which it is built – ambitious smaller and growing companies require markets that are specifically designed for their needs.