Wednesday 16 August 2017 The one stop source for free breaking news, expert analysis, and videos on AIM and LSE listed shares

Fisking The Times & Standard Life as AIM is lambasted

By Tom Winnifrith, The Sheriff of AIM | Friday 16 June 2017


The Times yesterday ran an article "Investors take aim at LSE’s mistrusted upstart - Stock exchange defends Alternative Investment Market but its critics are losing patience", which it painted as a major attack on AIM. In fact it appears to have found one new critic - Standard Life - which, having done its conkers on Fusionex (FXI) because its fund managers knew better than our writers here who issued repeated warnings, now seems to think AIM has a problem. On which fucking planet has Standard Life been for the past ten years?

So to "fiske" a dire piece by Robin Pagnamenta, Deputy Business Editor, which fails to address any of the real issues showing why journalists on the corrupt deadwood press are part of the problem not the solution. My comments are in bold.

The Alternative Investment Market is staining the reputation of the London Stock Exchange. The global business that competes for listings by top companies has been hit by scandals on the LSE’s junior market that have prompted questions about disclosure, transparency and abuse.

Stock markets are supposed to be about raising cash for companies to develop and prosper. But for 22 years, the LSE has failed to prevent problems on Aim, the main market’s less tightly regulated sibling.

Standard Life joined other critics this week when it attacked the LSE and the Financial Conduct Authority for allowing Fusionex, an IT group, to delist from Aim after a backdoor attempt to seize control by its Malaysian founder.

Euan Stirling, Standard Life’s head of governance, said that the delisting move was made “without our consent”, lumbering investors with unlisted and illiquid shares in a Malaysian-listed company. “This has [not] done the credibility of markets any favours.”

Fiske: So Standard Life expects special treatment, to be consulted while mug punters are ignored. Fusionex voted democratically to delist, does SL not support democracy? The real issue is why its fucktard fund managers ignored so many red flags. But it is not as if this has been AIM's only or indeed biggest scandal. Think of the slam dunk frauds like Quindell or Globo or Silverdell. Surely this is not the only AIM dog Standard's fucktard fund managers have backed?

The controversy at Fusionex and elsewhere has revived concerns about Aim, Russ Mould, investment director of AJ Bell, said. Supporters say that Aim is a vital source of funding for young companies, offering a lower-cost alternative to access capital.

Fiske: Russ you are talking 100% pure cock. The costs of maintaining a AIM listing are very high and since equity is often raised at a vast discount it is hugely expensive.

Critics point to a dismal historic return of minus 5.4 per cent, ex- dividends, since launch and a string of failures including some fraud cases. That compares with returns of 99.8 per cent and 387 per cent respectively for the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indexes.

Fiske: Come on deadwood press hack you are comparing apples with pears. Look at the FTSE Small Cap which - with dividends is the fair peer and is up by almost 300%.

Mr Mould said: “When you are dealing with early-stage companies the risks are that much higher. Things can get difficult quickly . . . investors need to go in with their eyes open.”

Fiske: But Russ you fucking poltroon, early stage companies carry risk but investors are told that the Nomad system ensures that at least companies tell the truth. Nomads charge high fees to act as policemen for AIM companies, arguing that if they allow a company to lie they will be in trouble but they never are. The risk on AIM is not of early stage companies but of Nomads turning a blind eye to fraud and lying. Think Eden Research. It is 20+ years old. So how can it carry "early stage risk". The risk is that it engages in panama pump frauds and lies about the potential of its products.

For Xavier Rolet, the LSE chief executive, who has been distracted by a failed merger with Deutsche Börse, the statistics on Aim, which celebrates its 22nd birthday next week, make for grim reading.

While a few of the 3,724 companies listed since 1995, such as Boohoo, Domino’s Pizza and Asos, have been big successes, the rollcall of flops is long. While some collapsed beneath big debts, others such as Izodia, the dot-com company, and Langbar International, an investment company, were victims of fraud and market abuse.

Today, about 966 Aim companies survive, worth £95.6 billion in total , or about 3 per cent of the London market’s overall capitalisation. The Aim market peaked in 2007 when 1,694 companies were listed, worth £97.6 billion.

Fiske: AIM has failed but, as those of us who attended the LSE AGM know, Xavier does not give a fuck.

There are City lawyers, brokers, PR people and advisers who earn a living from the index, sharing in fees generated from Aim companies.

Fiske: Coke and hookers all round. These folks make a killing as investors do their conkers and they will not accept reform and turn a blind eye to wrongdoing.

Laith Khalaf, of Hargreaves Lansdown, the broker, said that it was inevitable for smaller companies to be problematic. “There is a potential for gains but also losses,” he said. “The listing rules on Aim are less stringent. Aim companies tend to be more unstable.”

Fiske: Laith does not want his clients (mug punters) realising what a con so much of AIM is. And so he fails to address the problem. It is not that the rules are not tight enough it is that there is no obvious sanction for companies not obeying them and for fee-chasing advisers not stopping companies acting in this way. Laith you are just another fucking crony capitalist, piss off.

A London Stock Exchange spokesman rejected claims that Aim was barely regulated and prone to scandals, claiming it was a “successful growth market” and a “jewel in the UK economic crown”. “The Aim rules are similar or in excess of requirements for companies on other major exchanges,” he said.

Fiske: You is avin a giraffe.

“Where there are breaches, LSE investigates vigorously and, in cases where conduct falls outside the remit of the exchange, we co-operate with other statutory authorities.”

Fiske: And another one. We all know how many times the LSE ignored clear evidence of fraud at Quindell and elsewhere. It very rarely sanctions anyone.

Mr Mould said that one difficulty was the proliferation of small overseas companies, which are difficult to police. The chance of dominant executives or shareholders abusing their position at the expense of minority investors was also greater at small, illiquid companies. But he said that these problems are not exclusive to Aim, with scandals also hurting some FTSE 350 companies, even including Tesco and Rolls-Royce.

Fiske: Yes AIM has admitted many overseas dogs. It deliberately went to China to get companies to float. But it has also chased home grown crap.

In a letter to Marcus Stuttard, the head of Aim, Roger Lawson, deputy chairman of ShareSoc, the shareholder rights group, called for a new governance code, enhanced disclosure and stricter policing of existing rules. The changes should curb “false accounting, market abuse, making false statements that induce people to invest, insider trading and many other complaints”.

ShareSoc claimed that the “reputation of Aim actually puts off good quality companies from listing on it. Small and medium-sized companies that wish to raise equity for expansion are often discouraged from listing on Aim and this is damaging for the health of the UK economy”.

Fiske: we thought shamed & despised Ramper Lawson had "been resigned" from the ShareSoc board. Did he not tell The Times about this? The way he used ShareSoc's blog to promote shares in frauds where he had an undeclared position and to smear fraudbusters shows that he is just another fucking crony capitalist. Ramper is an enabler and all his fluff about corporate governance would just create more work for other crony capitalists. The issue here is that there are rules but no-one is ever punished for breaking them or enabling them to be broken.

This article fails to address the real issues. But when you quote a series of folks who are part of the problem not the solution that is hardly surprising.

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