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Webinar Recording: 'AIM, Tax and Growth'

Published: 24th July 2020

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:

Marcus Stuttard , Head of AIM at the LSE
Dru Danford , Head of Corporate Advisory at Shore Capital
Paul Jourdan, CEO of Amati Global Investors

 

At a time when the Chancellor is mulling how to recover the cost of a huge COVID rescue package, the Panel reviews what positive changes could be made to taxation and where ‘change-for-change sake’ could massively backfire by stifling the very SMEs that are the drivers for economic recovery.

 

Debate timetable

 

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.

 

Q&A

 

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.