There are three stockmarkets in the UK. The main one is the London Stock Exchange (LSE), which lists more than 900 companies. Companies quoted on this stockmarket must comply with strict rules in terms of size, how long they have been operating and how they are run.
The Alternative Investment Market (AIM) was launched in 1995 for companies that don’t meet all the criteria for an LSE listing. It is the first rung on the publicly quoted ladder for small, growing companies but, as these organisations are less developed, AIM shares tend to be riskier than those on the LSE. There are 700 companies listed on AIM.
The third is Ofex, short for ‘off exchange’. Also launched in 1995, this is for unquoted companies that have issued shares. There are currently 150 companies trading on Ofex. Because of their size and the scarcity of information published about them, Ofex is the riskiest market in the UK.