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Individual investors feel there are barriers to their ability to buy growth stocks, say AQSE and ShareSoc


A survey undertaken by Aquis Stock Exchange (AQSE) and ShareSoc has shown that individual investors do not feel they have good, equal access to growth stocks. 

Fifty five per cent of individual investors polled feel they don’t have, or aren’t sure they have, good access to growth companies. Around 50 per cent of respondents commented that they do not believe that they have enough access to IPOs and fundraisers. Additionally, individual investors are frustrated about the privileged access afforded to institutional investors, often at discounted prices. Over 80 per cent of respondents feel individual investors should be able to trade shares in any public company they choose, irrespective of the exchange it is on. 

The survey showed that most individual investors are not taking up the trading opportunities available on AQSE. AQSE is a home to growth companies and is dedicated to providing better access to SME stocks for individual investors. On the Apex segment of AQSE growth market, individual investors are able to immediately participate in IPOs as a growth prospectus is required. Short selling is prohibited (aside from Market Makers), and spreads are all within 5 per cent – the result of its previously announced innovative Market Maker scheme. 

ShareSoc believes that regulatory and access issues for individual investors also have consequences for the issuing companies and for the UK economy as a whole. Liquidity, spreads, costs and ratings on UK exchanges compare unfavourably with their US equivalents, which discourages many companies from seeking listings in the UK market. Lack of individual investor access to IPOs and fundraisers also starves companies of essential growth capital at reasonable cost. These problems could be significantly ameliorated by making it easier and simpler for individual investors to access IPOs and fundraises and to trade shares in all public companies and on all exchanges.  

Alasdair Haynes, CEO of Aquis Exchange, says: “At AQSE, we aim to provide greater and better access to individual investors. Unfortunately, many investors are yet to benefit from AQSE’s offering and our provisions for individual investors, including the access to companies from the IPO stage on the Apex segment of our growth market. 

“By providing more information about the benefits of AQSE I hope that more individual investors will choose to make the most of what it has to offer as we see more brokers giving them equal access through direct electronic trading.” 

Mike Dennis, Director of ShareSoc, adds: “Many UK investors are frustrated by the restricted access they have to small cap growth companies; they find it difficult to obtain reliable, quality information to assist their decisions and are often excluded from IPOs and fundraisers. It is pleasing, therefore, to hear that mainstream brokers are working towards making it possible for individual investors to access shares in many small cap growth companies. This will benefit individual investors, issuing companies, and the UK economy.” 

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