11.26.2014
By Terry Flanagan

Aquis Exchange: One Year In

Alasdair Haynes, chief executive of Aquis Exchange, said the pan-European equities exchange has attracted more liquidity than expected in its first year but not met its target for the number of members.

Aquis Exchange was founded in 2012 and the pan-European cash equities trading venue launched on 26 November 2013.

Haynes told Markets Media: “We exceeded expectations in terms of liquidity and the reliability of our technology as we did not have a single outage. We expected to have 20 members by the end of the first year but circumstances have not allowed that to happen.”

He said that Aquis currently has 13 members, including eighth of the largest 12 investment banks, and three market makers. Once all the largest banks are on the platform, it should be easier to attract smaller firms as members.

“More firms will join as they see evidence of the quality of our book and that we do not have the type of players who just want a rebate,” he added.

The number of European markets that can be traded on Aquis has grown from three at the launch to 12 and Haynes expects that number to grow over the next year.

The exchange started by offering the top 100 UK stocks, the largest 40 French stocks and the 25 premier Dutch stocks. The 30 biggest German stocks were added in January this year and in June the venue added the larger stocks in another eight countries.

“Data from LiquidMetrix shows that Aquis is the second best market in Italy after the national exchange, the second best in Switzerland and the third in Sweden,” he added. “Buyside firms looking for best execution in Italy and Switzerland would have definitely missed out on opportunities if they were not using Aquis.”

Haynes argued that the Liquidmatrix data was a better indication of liquidity on the platform than historic market share data.

Aquis introduced a subscription pricing model for its exchange where users are charged according to the message traffic they generate rather than paying traditional commissions based on a percentage of each stock they trade. Small firms pay a far lower subscription than the biggest firms who pay a maximum subscription for unlimited usage, subject to a fair usage policy.

“It has only been a year but the subscription model is here to stay” said Haynes. “There has been good growth every month and in terms of a school report, we would give ourselves an A- or B+.”

Image via Aquis Exchange

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