Covington and Kirkpatrick land AIM upgrade roles

US firms Covington & Burling and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham have picked up roles on the introduction of a groundbreaking electronic settlement system to AIM and on its first use by a company admitted to the junior bourse.

Covington advised Swiss-based SIS SegaInterSettle, a clearing and settlement agency, on developing a means of trading shares of US companies on AIM electronically.

SIS is a longstanding client of Covington and relationship attorney Tod Ackerly led the advice.

Until now, for US companies to avoid registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), brokers involved in trades of shares on AIM have to handle paper stock certificates, including a statement that each purchaser is not a US citizen.

This is to comply with US SEC regulations and the whole process can take up to three weeks.

The SIS service means deals can be done in real time. Traders will file electronic messages where there is a field to enter purchasers’ nationalities.

Florida-based xG Technology, which was admitted to AIM on 20 November, was the first company to take advantage of the SIS service. Kirkpatrick head of London corporate Martin Lane led for xG.