This study explores roles of NEDs of SMEs listed in the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the London Stock Exchange. It extends the literature on NEDs’ roles relevant to a context where the adherence to the principles of non-regularity corporate governance is not compulsory. We adopted a content analysis approach as a novel method for exploring roles of NEDs using details of 1220 NEDs recorded in 75 annual reports. It revealed that NEDs meet the expectations of several stakeholders simultaneously by playing multiple roles. A conceptual model depicting testable relationship between cognitive tasks and key roles of NEDs is also developed.