These facts may surprise you. If you analyse AIM-quoted companies by region of operation (not incorporation), you’ll find a quarter of them operate primarily in emerging markets, everywhere from China to Brazil.
But when you look at the market capitalisation of AIM and break it down by region, it turns out 40 per cent of the market is made up of companies based in these fast-growing regions.
These statistics come from a report, Institutional Investors in AIM, which was recently released by our sister publication Growth Company Investor. They reveal that whatever questions have been raised about AIM over the past couple of years, the market has been successful in attracting and retaining companies from all over the world.
That’s not to say that such companies represent an easy sell to the institutional investors who form the backbone of AIM (such firms have a 55.5 per cent stake in the market by value, as the Growth Company Investor report reveals).
Investors interviewed for the report have serious reservations about some of the foreign companies which have bid for their backing, chiefly around corporate governance and what they euphemistically call ‘their approach to shareholder value’.
But there is something reassuring about the fact that emerging markets-based companies have secured such a foothold in London in the face of such scepticism, rather than as a result of blind optimism or indeed a desperate hunt for overseas growth at a time of domestic austerity.
Of course, the geopolitical risks of investing in emerging markets should never be forgotten, and nor should the run-of-the-mill commercial ones. But their resilience in the face of the global economic downturn has shown that investing in these regions is not simply a fad.
The real question is when do we stop calling them emerging markets and accept the fact they have already emerged.