Advisers say they do not see many benefits in the Government’s plans to consult on expanding the list of qualifying investments for stocks and shares Isas.
In today’s Autumn Statement, the Government announced it will consult on including shares traded on small and medium enterprises equity markets such as the Alternative Investment Market and comparable markets.
Philippa Gee Wealth Management Philippa Gee says the inclusion of AIM stocks would be irrelevant for most people.
She says: “I feel that the Autumn Statement is full of red herrings, which would make people think it is a powerful and positive event. One example is the ability for investors to hold AIM shares within an Isa – this is frankly ludicrous as they would be relevant for only a small proportion of investors given the much higher levels of risk involved.”
Parsonage Financial Planning director Flora Maudsley-Barton says: “To enable people to invest in AIM stocks via Isas is borderline crazy. The vast majority of investors do not understand ‘illiquid’, but they will do so very quickly if they go down this route.
“Everyday investors should be going nowhere near a niche sector designed for typically higher-net-worth individuals with highly diversified portfolios.”
Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says investors need to be aware of the much higher risk of the AIM market.
He says: “Including them should give a boost to the AIM market, however AIM is a much more volatile place. It does have some very small and immature businesses. I would say it is essential that you use a fund to access this market, rather than an individual going in and picking their own AIM stocks.”
Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says he does not see much investor appeal for the move.
He says: ”The ability to invest in AIM listed companies within an Isa is very unlikely to boost investment into these companies. The majority of investors we speak to prefer to stick with mainstream investments so AIM companies will not appeal.”
Pilot Financial Planning director Ian Thomas says: “AIM in Isas has limited appeal because most investors looking to invest in a diversified portfolio will not wish to allocate a significant proportion of their investment to volatile, micro-businesses with less liquidity than the main market.”
But Hargreaves Lansdown senior investment manager Adrian Lowcock says a move to allow AIM stocks to be used in Isas would be attractive.
He says: “Adding AIM to the list of what is allowed to be included in an Isa would be good news. Investors would be able to invest in smaller, entrepreneurial businesses whilst benefitting from the same tax breaks they get for investing in larger companies.”
Jonathan Davis Wealth Management managing director Jonathan Davis also welcomes the move.
He says: “I have no problem with Isas holding AIM investments. In fact, after a sharp fall in AIM, I would welcome the opportunity to get in and obtain tax free growth from smaller fast growing companies.”