Johannesburg - During the recession the performance of the AltX - the bourse for smaller companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) - has compared poorly with that of its peers in more developed markets.
London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) - the London Stock Exchange (LSE) version of the AltX - has fared well because of the strong presence of institutional investors in that market, says Richard Webster-Smith, head of primary markets on the LSE.
About 50% of the investors on AIM are institutional investors.
London's financial market has a strong financing tradition for smaller companies. There is great appreciation of younger companies, Webster-Smith said in London on Thursday during an AltX conference on investor confidence.
He explains that retail investors constitute 30% of the shareholders on AIM and the remainder companies' management shares. In contrast the AltX has about 40% institutional investors and 60% retail investors (including management shares), JSE business development manager Lauren Czepek points out.
Institutional investors focus on the fundamental qualities of companies, while retail investors tend to respond to emotion, says Webster-Smith .
Another factor that has helped AIM is the diversification of companies on their bourse. The AltX consists mostly of construction companies.
Neither does London have the "inferiority complex" that companies that have moved from the AltX to the JSE's main board have, compared with those that remain on the alternative bourse.
Brian Rainier, research director at Merchantec Capital, defends the AltX, asking for patience.
Its history is only three years old, and the benefits enjoyed by AIM were built up over years, he points out.
AIM was established in 1995 and the AltX in 2005.
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