Financial News: Aquis Exchange to charge up to £10,000 a month for subscription

June 3, 2013

Aquis Exchange, a new European subscription-based equities trading venue expected to launch this year, will charge between £2,500 and £10,000 a month in its first six months of operation, Financial News has learnt.

According to an individual familiar with the planned tariff, £2,500 will allow a trading firm to send around 20,000 messages and, for £10,000, the messages traffic will be unlimited.

The individual said pricing tiers might be introduced in between these levels but Aquis would have no initial membership fee.

The fledgling platform, founded by a group of former executives including industry veteran Alasdair Haynes, who built up trading venue Chi-X Europe, plans to charge users based on the message traffic they send to the venue, such as buy and sell orders or cancellations. The model is designed to align customer usage with running costs.

After the initial six-month period, fees will be increased progressively over the next 18 months, before being fixed permanently for two years, the source said.

Aquis is attempting to break what it has termed the “duopoly” created by the merger of Chi-X Europe with rival platform Bats Europe in December 2011 by offering users a fixed-fee subscription model commonly adopted by mobile phone companies.

Many platforms have traditionally offered a so-called maker-taker pricing structure that rewards firms providing liquidity to its platform through a rebate, while charging firms that take liquidity. Designated Aquis marketmakers will not be charged for posting liquidity.

Aquis is holding talks with several high net worth individuals and private equity houses for a second round of funding, the source said. However, the platform will be 25% owned by its employees.

Aquis applied for approval with UK regulators in January and aims to launch in October.