AIM for Growth or Income: can you have both?

When investing in smaller quoted companies and particularly those on AIM, the predominant investor focus is of capital growth, as opposed to dividend income. Indeed, the London Stock Exchange’s description of AIM as being a “Market for small and medium size growth companies” highlights the junior market’s primary purpose.

While our firm would never advocate investing in AIM quoted companies for reliable dividend income, the fall in the share prices of many cash generative AIM companies over the course of 2022, many of which have a long track record of dividend payments, has served to highlight the income potential from AIM, not to mention the modest valuations of many companies previously considered for their growth appeal.

AIM quoted Wynnstay Group, a supplier of agricultural products and services to the UK’s arable and livestock farmers, recently reported fabulous full year results with earnings up 86% and a near 10% increase in its dividend, making it 19 consecutive years of dividend increases since Wynnstay joined AIM in 2004.

Link Group’s AIM Dividend Monitor from September 2022 suggested that the total dividend payout from AIM companies would reach £1.22bn in 2022, which will be close to the record payout of £1.29 billion in 2019. Our assessment suggests that dividend payments in 2022 may actually exceed this level.

The strong rebound in dividend payments and steep decline in share prices in 2022 means that the dividend yields of well-established AIM companies have risen substantially, to levels not seen in the 19 years my firm has been managing AIM portfolios.

Returning to the earlier point of AIM being primarily a market for growth companies, it’s worth emphasising that many of these current AIM high-yielders also have considerable growth attractions.

The founder management of one fast-growing and cash generative AIM company, with an attractive dividend yield, has clearly had enough of AIM’s ‘mispricing’ of their shares, engineering a deal to take the company private, with the help of an enthusiastic private equity backer. They were probably getting fed-up of being considered for their income, rather than growth attractions! Other cash generative AIM companies, may follow suit if their share prices continue to languish.

It’s noticeable that many mature AIM companies with surplus cash have also initiated share buy backs and special dividend payments.

Footwear retailer Shoezone announced an additional special dividend at the time of its full year results, which reported 55% growth in earnings per share. It is also committed to a significant share buyback programme.

The high dividend yields of many AIM companies bely their considerable long-term growth attractions.

Another attraction for many private investors when investing in AIM quoted companies is the potential to save future Inheritance Tax (‘IHT’) – shares of ‘Business Relief qualifying’ AIM companies fall outside the holder’s estate for IHT purposes if held for 2 years or more.

Those investing in AIM for IHT planning purposes for the first time may often be transferring out of income generating funds and equities. The idea of regular dividend income from a portfolio of AIM shares may therefore be appealing.

A word of caution

It is evident that most AIM companies generating strong cash and attractive returns on capital should prioritise re-investment in their business to help drive growth, over and above paying out large dividends to shareholders.

Some AIM companies might not be re-investing enough in their operations, with a risk that trading will ultimately suffer. Worse, having previously paid out large cash dividends, companies are subsequently forced to raise further equity from shareholders in support of acquisitions, at considerable expense and dilution to existing shareholders. In this case, it would surely have been better for the company to have held back its previous generous dividend payments.

There are many aspects to consider when assessing the income appeal of AIM companies, however, just because the dividend yield is high doesn’t mean the company no longer has capital growth attractions as well – it’s possible to find both from AIM’s many excellent companies.

Our recent WEBINAR: What does 2023 have in store for AIM? also covered the income attractions of AIM. You can watch the webinar from the link here.


To find out more about the Income benefits of AIM, please speak to our Business Development Manager, Jonathan Bramall, via email [email protected]  or phone 01923 713 894.


AIM IHT portfolios for INCOME? Is it worth it?

AIM isn’t a market that’s generally considered for its dividend and income attractions, and we have always expressed caution on AIM companies paying out high dividends, when they should be putting their cash to better use.  However, the steep decline in share prices of many good-quality AIM companies has seen dividend yields soar to levels not seen since we started managing AIM IHT planning portfolios back in 2004 and the AIM of today is thankfully a far better market than it was back then.

With many AIM companies sitting on plenty of supportive cash, but their share prices languishing, these high yielders also have growth attractions.

We therefore thought it was an appropriate time to reassess the dividend and income potential of AIM companies for IHT planning purposes.

Join us for our webinar AIM IHT portfolios for INCOME? Is it worth it? on 25th November at 3pm. We will discuss the benefits and potential pitfalls of investing in Inheritance Tax qualifying AIM companies for income generation and the potential yield available.

The webinar will cover a number of topics including:

  • State of the AIM market
  • The investable universe of big dividend paying AIM stocks
  • Dividend yields and dividend cover
  • Quality of AIM companies
  • Interest rate considerations
  • Fundamental Asset Management’s high yield AIM portfolio solution
  • Sectors and industries.
  • Portfolio management


Sign up to the webinar from the link here


The Fundamental AIM IHT Portfolio is a discretionary investment management service where clients can obtain 100% mitigation from Inheritance Tax, benefit from the capital growth afforded by the AIM market and retain control of their assets.

You can find out more about Fundamental Asset Management’s high performing AIM IHT ISA and AIM Inheritance Tax portfolio service, which has been delivering exceptional investment returns for more than 18 years, from the link here.

To find out more about the benefits of investing in AIM, or if you wish to discuss the current situation, please speak to our Business Development Manager, Jonathan Bramall, via email [email protected]  or phone 01923 713 894.


Dividends at risk: apply some cash flow common sense

During these testing times the dividend yield can often prove illusory. While many companies are well-placed to continue supporting their dividends, many others, burdened by high levels of debt and declining cash flow, will be struggling to support the cash payments with short term survival sadly the primary focus.

Faced with a meaningful decline in its clothing and home business, Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS) has decided to cut its final dividend to save £130m. With £4bn of net debt at 30 September 2019 and a £230m interest bill last year it looks a wise move as cash flow declines.

We would like to think that Sage Group (LON:SGE), the provider of accounting and payroll software, should continue to see the cash come in. As a precaution, it has decided to suspend its recently announced share buy-back programme in order to preserve a high level of liquidity, but we think the 3% yield is reasonably safe.

Unilever’s (LON:ULVR) defensive attributes are illustrated by the modest 14% fall in share price over the past 6 months and a resilient performance in March with the shares marginally higher. Unilever has always paid a dividend and the forecast yield of 3.7%, not to mention its fantastic portfolio of everyday products, look extremely appealing in the current low interest rate environment.

It’s a different story for many smaller companies whose earnings and cash flow might be at risk. Despite the luxury of cash in the bank, Quartix Holdings (LON:QTX) prudently announced a cut to its final and special dividend this week.

Johnson Service Group (LON:JSG) is also cutting its dividend.

EMIS Group (LON:EMIS) and Curtis Banks (LON:CBP) both appear to have the desired balance sheets and cash flow profiles to be able to continue to support their dividends. But if the crisis drags on longer than expected even their dividends could be at risk.

Dividend seekers should not be swayed by forecasts, which are rendered meaningless in the current environment, and the focus should be on real balance sheet strength, debt and cash flow. Debt is fine if the cash flow is assured, as has always been the case.

Fundamental General and AIM portfolios include many of the companies mentioned in this post.

If you are looking for high levels of income from your portfolio please speak to Chris or Stephen on 01923 713890

This is an extract of an article published by our associates Investor’s Champion here.