June 14, 2018

By Philip Stafford

Shares in Aquis Exchange, the UK share trading venue, rose by more than a fifth on their debut in London on Thursday, further underlining investors’ enthusiasm for new issues.

Aquis’s stock rose as high as 333p in the first hour of trading on Aim, the City’s junior market, according to data from Thomson Reuters. It had listed at 269p, giving it a market capitalisation of £73m.

The group raised £12m in new shares while existing shareholders, such as the Warsaw Stock Exchange, raised another £20m by selling down their stakes. The WSE had held a 20 per cent stake.

Rich Ricci, the former Barclays investment banker and long-time backer, has become the top shareholder in Aquis, with a 7.9 per cent stake. XTX, the UK electronic market making group, is the second-largest with a 6.9 per cent stake.

The rise comes in a week in which shares of Dutch payments group Adyen doubled while companies like Knights, the law firm, uranium investment vehicle Yellow Cake and wealth management company Quilter are also slated to list in London in coming weeks.

Aquis, which was founded in 2012, offers a “pay for what you consume” data fee for traders and has banned what it calls aggressive and predatory high-speed trading in an effort to lure big traders and asset managers. It competes with the London Stock Exchange, Cboe Europe and other incumbent European exchanges.

It is trying to exploit January’s new Mifid II rules, which mandate more share trading on transparent markets like Aquis, the LSE, Deutsche Börse and Euronext. Policymakers also want asset managers to show their investors they are delivering the best prices for their deals on markets. Its nominated adviser and sole corporate broker is Liberum Capital.