Aim stocks also benefit from generous tax reliefs which make them ideal for some investors. Some Aim shares are exempt from inheritance tax (IHT) if held for more than two years and can be included in stocks and shares Isas. They are also free from the 0.5pc stamp duty charged on newly-issued shares.
It all seems positive for investors: less red tape, better tax efficiency and good companies where returns can be astronomical as businesses grow from fledgling family-run outfits to household names. Let’s call fans of this reasoning “Team Boohoo”, for reasons which, if not already obvious, will become clear.
Without wanting to be the voice of reason at a booming party, sometimes reporting requirements and corporate governance codes give shareholders the information they need to see whether a business is being run well. For every company that makes it there are more than a handful that don’t. Aim has historically been littered with companies whose governance or accounting hasn’t been up to scratch. Proponents of this argument will be known as “Team Patisserie Valerie”.
A look at averages tells you Aim investing is not worth the hassle. Since data started being collected in 1998, Aim stocks have on average returned 9pc. A tracker fund following the FTSE All Share index, a benchmark of the main British stock market, would have bagged a 172pc return. So why bother, Team Pat Val asks? A pertinent question.
As ever, the answer is in the middle. The Aim darlings of the moment – ignoring those that have already made the jump to the main market – are outstanding British companies and worthwhile investments. Since listing, Boohoo, an online clothes retailer, has turned £1,000 worth of shares into more than £5,500. Blue Prism, a software company, has converted the same starting amount into nearly £11,000 in just four years.