August 17, 2015

Aquis Exchange, a fledgling trading platform founded by industry veteran Alasdair Haynes, will in August begin trading the largest stocks from Spain as it battles to introduce a new fee model to Europe’s equities markets.

Aquis, which already trades blue-chip stocks from 12 European countries including the UK, France and the Netherlands, will offer trading in the 35-largest Spanish stocks from August 20.

Haynes said in a statement: “Member appetite for investing in Spain has grown recently and we are responding to this demand.”

Most exchanges charge per transaction, reducing their fees the more a customer trades, but Aquis charges a fixed monthly subscription.

While the exchange, which started trading in October 2013, lost out in a public tender process in July 2015 to provide its technology to the not-for-profit Plato Partnership, its market share has grown. Its share of trading in FTSE 100 stocks, for example, is up from 0.22% in January to 0.8% so far in August.

Competitive share trading has been slow to emerge in Spain, with incumbent Bolsas y Mercados still accounting for more than 70% of trading in domestic shares. That is partly due to the country’s post-trade model. There is no clearing house, with trades instead settled throughIberclear, a central securities depositary owned by BME. Competing platforms clear their trades by partnering with local banks, which send settlement instructions to Iberclear on their behalf.

However, the launch of a Spanish clearing house in 2016 is expected to help level the playing field for alternative venues. Venues including Bats Chi-X Europe and Turquoise already use some services, such as netting, offered by clearing house EuroCCP in Spain.

Members of those platforms will also be able to use clearing services provided by LCH.Clearnetfrom September 2015 – the start of interoperability in Spanish equities clearing.

Haynes said: “The Spanish clearing regime is to become partially interoperable thus making this market more attractive.”

 Tim Cave