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The QCA (Quoted Companies Alliance) and YouGov have completed their H2 Sentiment Survey of Small and Mid-caps which tracks business sentiment and key issues affecting small and mid-cap quoted companies, their advisors, investors and other market participants.

For the first time since 2011, bank debt overtook equity funding as the most attractive form of external financing for small and medium sized quoted companies. This has challenged the previous trend, running since the survey began, which maintained that, for the UK’s small and mid-caps, public equity was preferred. 

52% of respondents said they would choose bank debt if they had a need for external financing whereas 39% would choose funding via public markets as their first port of call. 

In terms of general outlook companies have remained confident in their own prospects. The emergence of headwinds such as supply chain bottlenecks and staff shortages since the last survey has, however, impacted sentiment. The headline figure of their own business outlook fell from 77.2 to 73.1. *

In line with the long term trend, the outlook for the wider economy is perceived by companies as being less optimistic than their view of their own business performance. The aforementioned headwinds have had a greater impact on the view of the wider economy’s performance with that index falling from 68.6 to 53.9 showing only a slightly positive outlook.*

Tim Ward, Chief Executive, the Quoted Companies Alliance said:

“Overall these results are encouraging despite the obvious headwinds that businesses are confronted with. It is a concern that debt has overtaken public equity as a more attractive means of external financing. It has been shown that companies and economies that have relatively higher levels of debt financing are more susceptible to shocks. For this reason we should aim to lower the direct and indirect costs of raising finance from our public equity markets.”

View the full results of the H2 2021 QCA / YouGov Small and Mid-Cap Sentiment Survey here.

Previous Waves can be found here.

*a score above 50 means an overall positive outlook while 50 is neutral and below 50 is negative. 

– Ends –

For further Information please contact:

Ruby Halabi
Communications Executive, The Quoted Companies Alliance
T: 020 7397 8140

About The QCA
The Quoted Companies Alliance is the independent membership organisation that champions the interests of small to mid-size quoted companies.

There are around 1,250 small and mid-size quoted companies in the UK, representing 93% of all quoted companies. They employ approximately 3 million people, representing 11% of private sector employment in the UK, and contribute over £26bn in annual taxes (source).

Our goal is to create an environment where that potential is fulfilled. We identify the issues that matter to our members, keep them informed and interact to build the understanding and connections that help our members stay ahead. For more information please visit

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