The Isle of Man’s AIM companies – what do they actually do in the middle of the Irish Sea?

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This was posted as a comment on the bnloog this morning but asks too important a question for it nopt to be shared - so thank you Anrigaut whoever you might be:

IOM is proud to announce that it is now “in first place in respect of the largest number of non-UK incorporated AIM top 100 companies”, with a market share of 18.6%, ahead of (the well-known tax havens of) Bermuda and the BVI – in second and third place respectively.

This news is also reported here.

I know little about this subject other than that AIM-listed companies are (or so I understand) subject to less regulation than LSE-listed ones and that there are certain tax advantages (as well as more risk) for investors. But one could well wonder what these companies, with a “current market capital of £1.14bn”, actually DO on such a small island. The mind boggles :) As to who they are – who can say? The official AIM website appears to have no search facility by geographic location. An independent site at http://www.aimlisting.co.uk does have such a facility, but a search for Isle of Man companies returns the helpful message “Sorry but no results were found” (same result for Bahamas, Jersey & Guernsey and just one company under BVI – but around 30 in East Anglia). Obviously providing information to this site is optional – but is anyone surprised that not one of the 50 IOM-incorporated AIM companies choses to do so?

The IOM Minister for the Department of Economic Development, John Shimmin MHK, is reported as saying: ‘This research shows the Isle of Man performing very well in the AIM market despite difficult market conditions and serves to illustrate that the island is the preferred gateway to London for international corporate capital raising requirements. This is another example of how the Isle of Man is a significant contributor to the City of London and why the Crown Dependencies are important to the UK economy as a whole.’

No doubt this will be on the agenda when the Lord Mayor of the City of London visits the island next week:

“The Isle of Man has been building relations with the Lord Mayor’s Office in recent years, and one of Alderman Wootton’s predecessors in the role, Alderman David Lewis, described the Island as a ‘core asset’ for the City.”

If I might add an appropriate note - if ever there was evidence that the City runs its own government with its own foreign policy this sort of thing supports the thesis.