Reuters: Start-up stock exchange Aquis partners with three clearers

October 9, 2013

Aquis Exchange, a new pan-European share trading platform set to launch in November, said on Wednesday three clearing houses have agreed to provide their services.

The three, the European Multilateral Clearing Facility (EMCF), SIX x-clear and LCH.Clearnet, already account for the majority of the current European equities clearing market, Aquis said.

Known as central counterparty clearing houses (CCPs), they ensure that financial transactions are completed, even if one side of a trade defaults.

Aquis, founded a year ago by Alasdair Haynes, the former chief executive of rival share trading platform Chi-X Europe which now belongs to share market operator BATS Global Markets BATS.Z, wants to shake up European equities trading by introducing subscription-based pricing for market users modelled on the mobile phone market.

Instead of charging customers based on the value of trades like the main European exchanges, Acquis’s users will pay a flat fee based on the number of trades they make.

It expects to receive approval as a multilateral trading facility (MTF) from Britain’s financial regulator “in weeks”. It has set Nov. 14 as a provisional launch date.

The launch will be preceded by “rehearsals” to test Aquis’s technology.

Haynes said Aquis’s CCP arrangements reflect the firm’s belief in open access to clearing.

“It has always been our plan for Aquis Exchange to link to a number of CCPs so members have choice of where to clear,” he said.

Unlike Aquis many national exchanges have recently sought to beef up their post-trade businesses to diversify revenue streams and take advantage of regulatory reforms requiring over-the-counter trades in financial instruments to also be cleared by CCPs.

The London Stock Exchange LSE.L acquired a majority stake in LCH.Clearnet earlier this year.

(Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by Greg Mahlich)