January 16, 2014

Aquis Exchange Ltd., an alternative European stock-trading venue that started operating in November, will offer German stocks in direct competition to Deutsche Boerse AG and Bats Global Markets Inc.’s European business.

London-based Aquis will offer trading of the 30 biggest German stocks on Jan. 22, according to a notice to clients obtained by Bloomberg News. The system may add another 10 markets “shortly,” it said.

Alasdair Haynes, the former chief executive officer of Chi-X Europe Ltd., founded Aquis as an alternative to his former employer, Bats, and traditional exchanges. The system started on Nov. 26 with the top 100 U.K. stocks, the 40 biggest French equities and the 25 largest Dutch shares. The Warsaw Stock Exchange agreed to buy a 30 percent stake in the company for 5 million pounds ($8.2 million) in August.

The European Union’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive in 2007 allowed alternative trading systems to compete with exchanges such as Deutsche Boerse and London Stock Exchange Group Plc, sparking a fight for market share. Many of the new platforms have since merged, shut down or been bought.

Yesterday, EU lawmakers agreed on a deal to toughen the bloc’s financial-market rulebook in a bid to revamp its market legislation, known as Mifid 2. Among the measures are rules that will put the brakes on high-frequency trading and curb speculation in commodity derivatives.

Nandini Sukumar