The FT Entirely And Completely Misunderstands AIM Tax Breaks

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If only the country’s main finance and economics newspaper was written by those with a smattering of knowledge about finance and economics. Not something greatly in evidence here:

The recent near-death experience of Patisserie Valerie and collapse of Conviviality, the bargain booze business, might make Chancellor Phil Hammond think again about all those rich tax breaks attached to shares on Aim, London’s junior market.

Thinking again’s never a bad idea. What, maybe increase the tax breaks?

Neither businesses do anything to lessen Aim’s reputation as a loosely regulated wild west of a market choc-a-bloc with ventures with short trading histories and shaky governance.

Well, yes, that’s the point of AIM. Not as safe, not as secure, as the main market, widows and orphans steer clear, this is rough, less regulated, capitalism.

The downfall of Conviviality, which joined Aim in 2013, seems to be because of the incompetence of an over-ambitious top team which made a transformative acquisition and failed to install sufficient controls and systems.

Ah, so AIM is riskier than we thought. More of a place that the untried get to try than somewhere safe and secure. OK. Well, given that it’s less safe and secure than we thought it was what should we do about those tax breaks then?

That odd and antiquated designation alone should make Spreadsheet Phil look again at why Aim deserves so many perks.

Well, no, the breaks exist because we think it a good idea that the untried get to try, that out there ideas manage to raise capital from those willing to take the risks. A finding that it’s all riskier is an argument in favour of increasing the breaks. And yet here we’ve the FT arguing for closing them.

How lovely to find the so well informed telling us all how to do things.

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Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

It’s been many years, if not decades, since the pink ‘un was required reading for anyone seriously involved in investment, or financial services more generally.

Tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse.