For a one hour debate that also addressed audience questions, we were joined on 23rd July 2020 by a distinguished Panel of key figures in the SME markets:
3.00 mins: Marcus summarises what AIM has achieved for the UK economy in its first 25 years, and reports that this year it is responsible for c. 70% of the total equity funding raised on European Growth markets.
9.45: Dru explains the attractions of IPOs to company builders and how being a plc can raise management efficiency; why breadth of share ownership matters, as does continuity of most tax regimes.
12.56: Paul explains what attributes an IPO should possess to attract investors, how AIM offers future promise to investors, and that its strong reputation took 2 decades to build and make it a National Asset.
18.47: Marcus says that BPR has been through numerous previous reviews, and now forms part of a package of tax incentives that work quite well. As a result, the quality of AIM companies and the reputation of the exchange has materially improved.
26.30: Dru covers the reliability of the current processes, but feels improvements could come from enhanced Regional focus. VCT funds have had fewer attractive companies to back in recent years.
30.03: Paul thinks that the legislation changes for VCT investment in recent years have improved the overall market. Whilst complicated in detail for advisors, it is easier for investors to participate.
36.35: ‘Is the loss of IHT relief for qualifying AIM shares inevitable ? ‘ Panel members think NOT due to employment and economic benefits from AIM IPOs;
40.10: ‘Could AIM and the HMRC publish judgements to create a register of qualifying AIM companies ? ‘ Marcus – very difficult, due to companies often changing their models.
44.50: ‘Might a hard Brexit mean an opportunity for AIM to attract more companies domiciled outside the UK ? ‘Panel - already many domiciles represented on AIM, and companies listed there are backed by a truly international range of investors.
51.40: ‘Where might HMRC seek additional revenues?’ Panel suggestions: low tax zones/rebalancing equity financing incentives versus deductible debt costs/simplify UK tax code to improve compliance/VAT increases (eg on luxury spend, retain zero rate for essentials).
57.44: Conclusion – this Panel believes that measures which stimulate growth are the best solution to the UK’s budget deficit.