AIM stands for Alternative Investment Market. It’s a separate market on the London Stock Exchange and is aimed at helping smaller companies grow. AIM was started to help smaller companies who wanted to raise capital but couldn’t afford the costs required or didn’t meet the requirements necessary to list on the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market.
Some companies choose to list on AIM as a gateway to getting on the Main Market, like Domino’s Pizza group and Hiscox, but there are some recognisably larger brands on AIM, such as ASOS, boohoo.com and Fevertree. AIM comprises over 800 stocks.
Investing in AIM can be as easy as other investments. If you want to invest in a representation of all AIM stocks, then you can invest in a fund that lists AIM companies. You can find funds that suit you on a share trading platform.
Another way is to buy individual stocks. You’ll want to research into which companies you want to invest in and search for them on your chosen share trading platform.
The 20 largest AIM stocks by market capitalisation are:
There aren’t any AIM tracker funds or ETFs, mainly because it’d be quite difficult to do so due to the size of the companies in the index.
As you’d be investing in companies very early on, there’s more chance that they’ll fail and therefore there’s more risk associated with your investments. This added risk of volatility or associated tax incentives is what attracts some investors to AIM companies.
By investing in AIM companies, you might be able to take advantage of tax relief such as inheritance tax relief, capital gains tax relief and tax relief on shares that qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). As always, you can get tax relief from holding your stocks in a stocks and shares ISA.
A lot of the companies listed on AIM are still young which means that they aren’t as liquid (meaning it’s harder to sell shares). There is generally more risk associated with these stocks compared with the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market, which is made up of established companies.
The coronavirus pandemic shook up all industries and stock indices, AIM included. It lost 38% in value between January and mid March, it’s lowest point during the pandemic but it has bounced back a little since then and recovered most of its losses.
AIM still isn’t trading at the same levels that it was pre-pandemic, so it’s up to you to decide whether you think it will continue to grow further.
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