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‘Ready… AIM… and fire the fly-by-nights’ says US bigwig

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London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) has been castigated by a senior US stock market official, who apparently referred to it as a “casino”.

Roel Campos, from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that he was concerned that much UK investment in fledgling companies ends up in companies a third of which are “gone in a year”.

He added: “That feels like a casino to me.”

His comments are seen as a preface to possible regulatory intervention if the American Nasdaq index was to buy the London Stock Exchange, which owns AIM, later in the year.

AIM is the home for smaller companies that want to raise cash and it has no statutory minimum size demands.

But there was criticism of Campos’ comments. “This is a bit rich coming from an official of a system that permitted the Enron and Global Crossing scandals and gave us the almost catastrophic Long Term Capital Management hedge fund fiasco,” said a senior London dealer who declined to be named.

“That last little affair nearly resulted in the total meltdown of the world’s financial systems, so calling AIM a casino – if Campos said it – must mean he’s pretty scathing on his own country’s investment controls.”




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