New rule introduced in September 2018 has forced AIM companies to act
Companies listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) have made significant improvements in corporate governance disclosure since a new rule change came into effect in September 2018, but there is still room for improvement, says UHY Hacker Young, the national accountancy group, and the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA).
The findings of the new Corporate Governance Behaviour Review reveal that:
- Before the change to AIM Rule 26, only 24% of AIM listed companies explained how the board ensures that the company’s ethical standards are recognised, rising to 80% after; and
- Previously only 10% made reference in the Chair’s corporate governance statement to how the company’s culture is consistent with its strategy and business model, rising to 62% after the rule change.
However, the research* reveals that AIM companies are also falling short in other new corporate governance requirements:
- 42% do not identify their independent directors
- 88% do not provide a description of how board performance is measured; this includes details of actual performance metrics and how often performance reviews take place
- 34% do not detail director compensation and any benefits awarded each year
- 30% do not describe the roles and responsibilities of the Chair, CEO and board members
The new rule changes** which came into force on 28th September 2018, require AIM listed companies to adopt a recognised corporate governance code, for example the QCA Corporate Governance Code. Companies must either disclose how they have complied with each principle under their adopted code or explain why they have not.
Martin Jones, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, says: “Despite improvements in recent years, and as a result of the new AIM rule, the research has exposed that AIM companies still have a lot of work to do in bringing corporate governance up to required levels.”
The Review suggests that communication is key for boards in terms of reassuring shareholders and attracting investors. Information on how boards are selected and why companies differ in approach to corporate governance are often particularly important for investors.
Martin Jones adds: “New rule changes have acted as a catalyst for AIM companies who have had to fast-track the implementation of new corporate governance procedures. Although this would have put added pressure on some smaller businesses, the net result is undoubtedly positive.”
Tim Ward, CEO at the Quoted Companies Alliance, says: “Corporate governance continues to improve amongst AIM companies and has come a long way in the last five years. This latest research should act as a steer for companies when reviewing their own procedures.”
“With MiFID II resulting in a decrease in research available on small and mid-caps, companies need to take action to ensure that they are using channels like their websites to best effect in communicating with investors. It is these investors that are the ultimate arbitrators of whether a company is demonstrating that it is well governed.”
*Analysis of annual reports and corporate websites of 50 small and mid-sized companies with equity securities admitted to trading on the London AIM market
**Changes to AIM Rule 26
About UHY Hacker Young:
The UHY Hacker Young Group is one of the UK’s Top 20 accountancy networks with more than 100 partners and 540 professional staff working from 23 locations around the country. The offices within the Group provide a wide range of accounting, tax and business advisory services, with a reputation for integrity and reliability within the financial community, and particularly with London’s Stock Markets. UHY Hacker Young are also ranked 16th in the ARL Corporate Advisers Rankings Guide amongst other UK audit firms for advising London Stock Exchange listed companies.
UHY Hacker Young is a founder member of the UHY International network with offices in every major financial centre in the world. Further information can be found at www.uhy-uk.com
UHY Hacker Young
Tel: +44 20 7216 4694
About the QCA:
The Quoted Companies Alliance is the independent membership organisation that champions the interests of small to mid-size quoted companies.
For more information please visit www.theqca.com.
Tim Ward, Chief Executive,
02076003745 / 07876454480
Anthony Robinson, Head of Policy & Communications
02076003745 / 07456686160