AIM market governance concerns dominate LSE AGM

ShareSoc, which represents individual investors, raised concerns about the regulation of the AIM smaller company market at the recent London Stock Exchange (LSE) AGM. The organisation’s director, Mark Bentley, accused the LSE of failing in its function as operator and regulator of the AIM market.

Speaking at LSE’s AGM Bentley said,  “Why does the LSE not do something about the poor reputation of AIM? This is the result of not just poor performance (or as Claer Barrett said in the FT “20 years of a few winners and many losers”) but also the view of experienced AIM investors: that AIM is full of dubious businesses led by dubious people. Is the new management going to tackle this problem or continue to let it be an ‘anything goes’ market frequented by spivs?”

ShareSoc reported that LSE chairman Donald Brydon did not deny the presence of dubious businesses in the AIM market, nor the accusation from well known smallcap market commentator Tom Winnifrith that many frauds had been perpetrated on AIM investors. Brydon did, however, claim that the LSE took these matters seriously and implemented effective regulatory systems.

However, Bentley said, “The experience of our members has shown that the LSE’s regulatory function is not fit for purpose, which is damaging the ability of legitimate UK SMEs, the lifeblood of the UK economy, to raise much needed capital. Good British businesses, that deserve investment, are tarred in some investors’ eyes with the same brush as the too numerous AIM frauds. We call on the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) to investigate these regulatory failures and ensure that effective enforcement is in place to deter criminality.”

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