Clara Furse, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, outlines her US strategy for and dismisses recent criticisms on its growth market AIM, the latter most recently from NYSE’s CEO John A. Thain, in this editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required). (See also this previous post on an AIM company adviser’s mid-Atlantic liability which touches on the US interest in the market and the LSE webcast “AIM in the US“.) In particular, she addresses the complaints of AIM being engaged in ‘regulatory arbitrage’ and the quality of companies the market attracts.
A quote, in direct response to the Paulson Committee’s Interim Report:
AIM’s regulatory system has worked very well in its first decade and the exchange is in the process of completing a regulatory consultation, which is intended to ensure that AIM has the appropriate regulatory context for further strong international growth in its second decade.
She also argues that the relatively greater economic risk associated with investing in AIM companies is due not to the market’s regulatory environment but is inherent to the nature of the early stages of development of these companies.
He is reported to have said there that AIM does “not have any standards at all and anyone could list. I think they are starting to tighten up, and they should.” The immediate response was dismissal of those remarks as ‘sour grapes‘, with quotes from a nomad, an AIM company auditor and Martin Graham, LSE’s Director of Markets. (Note the time difference between those two reports.)
Also see the Wall Street Journal’s comments (subscription required) on Thain’s ‘attack’ in the context of the tale of the LSE - NASDAQ combination tussle.