Mainland IPOs help London raise $68b in nine months Britain's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is heading for another record fund-raising year partly thanks to initial public offerings from China. The second board of the London Stock Exchange raised GBP4.95 billion ($68.53 billion) in the first three quarters compared with GBP4.66 billion in the same period last year. The huge proceeds are sure to be the envy of its Hong Kong counterpart, the Growth Enterprise Market, which raised only 286.7 million between January and September. Jane Zhu, head of Asia-Pacific company services of the London Stock Exchange, said it had only been in recent years that AIM, which was established in 1995, started to promote itself in the mainland with numerous campaigns to attract Chinese companies. She said the beauty of AIM lay in the fact that listing applications were vetted by nominated advisers (also known as nomads), not by the London Stock Exchange. This means the nomads have to stake their reputation and credit on 'babysitting' the listing candidates. 'Unlike the regulatory framework in Hong Kong, it is a lifetime job to serve as a nomad for the new listed company while the counselling period is only two years for the GEM,' said Ms Zhu. She added that two Hong Kong-based medium-sized investment banks had applied to become nomads. At present, AIM has 79 nomads, including JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. Of the five mainland companies listing on AIM this year, the biggest has been orange plantation operator Asian Citrus, a subsidiary of Chaoda Modern Agriculture (Holdings), which raised about GBP12 million. EBT Mobile, a Shanghai-based mobile-phone retailer, raised GBP4 million. Ying Fang, chief executive of Evolution China, which acted as a nomad for Asian Citrus, said the role was actually one of a business partner. As an example, she said she had advised the company to hire professionals in key positions such as financial officers. 'We tell them how to run the business in the interests of the investors, which is also for the company's own good, and how to improve the standard of corporate governance,' Ms Ying said. 'I am astonished to see how willing the companies are to upgrade the quality of their management.'