The Alternative Investment Market (Aim) was first established in 1995 by the London Stock Exchange as a way for newer firms to gain access to public funds. It has less demanding entry criteria than those applied to companies wanting to join the LSE Official List. An Aim 'quotation' is often used as a stepping-stone for firms planning a full listing in the future. The main benefits of joining AIM for new firms are the ability to raise finance and make acquisitions more easily. Aim is becoming increasingly popular with non-UK firms seeking an international listing, as a result of its low regulatory requirements compared with equivalent markets in the US.