Financial News: Aquis gears up for launch with latest hire

September 4, 2013

Aquis Exchange, a new pan-European equities trading platform that has piqued the interest of investors such as former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond, has hired a senior Liquidnet compliance officer ahead of its planned October launch.

Jon Knight, head of market surveillance for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the European arm of trading firm Liquidnet, is set to join Aquis to run its surveillance arm, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Knight marks the latest hire for Aquis after the platform also announced this week that it has taken on former LCH.Clearnet group head of equities, Wayne Eagle, to run its post-trade services.

The recruitment comes as the trading venue awaits final regulatory approval with the platform expected to go live next month.

Meanwhile, Liquidnet has hired Dan Phillips, revenue assurance manager at financial information provider Markit and former head of compliance at Chi-X Europe, for its compliance team.

Anna-Maria Heritier de la Roche, Liquidnet Europe head of regulation and compliance, said: “Jon is leaving Liquidnet to pursue other opportunities and we wish him well. His replacement will be announced very soon. Dan Phillips recently joined the team as a compliance manager.”

Aquis, founded by a group of former executives including industry veteran Alasdair Haynes, who built up trading platform Chi-X Europe, is planning to offer a new fixed-fee subscription model commonly adopted by mobile phone companies.

Users will be charged based on the message traffic they send to the venue, such as buy and sell orders or cancellations. Aquis is planning to charge between £2,500 and £10,000 a month in its first six months of operation.

The exchange has been seeking external investment in recent months with Barclays former chief executive Diamond and the former chief executive of Barclays’ corporate and investment bank Rich Ricci among several high-net-worth individuals that have expressed an interest in the venue, as first reported by Financial News last month.

Suzi Ring and Tim Cave