City AM: Challenger stock exchange Aquis prepares for £73m London float

23 May 2018

By Lucy White

Aquis, a challenger trading venue which aims to rival players like the London Stock Exchange with its subscription-based model, is planning to list in London in the next month.
The business, founded and headed by former ITG and Chi-X boss Alasdair Haynes, hopes to raise £12m of new money to build its presence in the City.
Already used by big-name banks such as UBS, Aquis believes its subscription-based model – rather than the pay-per-trade model employed by its incumbent rivals – can save trading firms billions of pounds.

This is also due to the fact that Aquis bans “aggressive” high-frequency traders which aim to capture fractional differences by trading quickly across different venues.
Eliminating such traders lowers the “toxicity” – a measure of the degree to which the price rises, or falls, while the order is in the process of being executed – of the venue, so traders can achieve a more reliable price.

Aquis, which was founded in 2012, has already lured two per cent of equity trading in Europe to its venue and plans to keep on pushing. It also provides market data and trading technology to other clients.

The listing on London’s junior market will see the Warsaw Stock Exchange sell its 20 per cent stake. It had initially invested in 2013, through a deal which valued Aquis at around £17m.
Haynes has previously told City A.M. that although the group expects to make a pre-tax loss of £4m this year, it hopes to hit profitability by 2020.