Friday 7 September 2012

AIMing at ISA's

My attention has been drawn to a new Government e-petition submitted by David O'Hara. Here it is.

Share ISA's have long been in existence and successive government have increased substantially the amount of money that one can put into them, now over £10,000 a year. However, they are restricted to UK shares and Unit trusts/Funds.

This has created some strange oddities too in the rules as financial products have changed. You can for instance buy some very exotic ETF's which we now know have low correlations to the underlying assets and are in no way related to stocks, often commodities or FX. These highly complex structures are beyond me to understand and I have avoided since many were suspended in 2008  - however, they are fine for ISA's. How can a synthetic 3x leverage FTSE short not be highly risky as a product to buy?

Then there is a strange twist by which AIM companies that list in certain other major markets can be put into an ISA. A TSX or ASX listing amongst others will allow you to put a share into an ISA.

So what can't go in, well, normal AIM stocks.  The reasoning behind this is that AIM is too risky and you can lose all your money in dodgy companies. There is of course much truth to this, many of my previous key buys, like PPA or EME or XTA have proved long-term to be disasters. On the plus side since 2008 and investing mainly in AIM stocks my portfolio is up a mere 1000%; it's less than half of what it was in Jan 2011, but still, its done well. There is money to be made and it is not as if I trade much, having sat on most of my current portfolio for nearly 3 years now.

Of course, AIM is dodgy and the management is dodgy - but, um this is true of the FTSE100 too. Where is that Fred Goodwin guy or that nice Mr Diamond? Who runs and really operates some very strange FTSE mining businesses like ENRC - what is their approach to corporate governance? It is not all rosy in the FTSE garden by comparison.

Finally, the small stocks on AIM without foreign listing can be real UK SME's - pharma companies, telco's all sorts. These companies need the support of regular UK investors - it is why they went to the stock markets.

People should be free to gamble with their investments into supposedly higher risk companies - it is their money and the Government should be supporting small UK investing. I will be signing this petition.

1 comment:

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Weird, isn't it? I can buy dodgy ETFs for my ISA, but I can't buy Mulberry shares. Very odd.