November 26, 2014

Share trading platform Aquis Exchange has increased monthly volumes as well as liquidity in some markets in its first year, progress it hopes can convince more investment banks to use its service.

The company, which marks its one-year anniversary on Wednesday, wants to shake up European equities trading by introducing subscription-based pricing for market users.

Instead of charging customers based on the value of trades like the main European exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange, Euronext and Deutsche Boerse , Aquis users pay a flat fee based on the number of trades they make.

It has focused on the largest stocks by market value in the 12 markets it covers, including Denmark, Britain and Italy.

The UK-based company says its volumes have grown almost every month in the last 12 months, with 1.4 billion euros ($1.75 billion) worth traded in October.

Its market share stands at around 0.17 percent, according to BATS Chi-X Europe data, but Aquis Chief Executive Alasdair Haynes urged market participants to also look at measures of liquidity to assess its progress.

Citing data from research firm LiquidMetrix, Haynes said in some markets, such as Italy and Sweden, Aquis ranks only one or two places behind the national exchanges in terms of tightness of spreads and depth of order book.

He added that those factors were likely to become more important to market participants as they focus on best execution – a European Union law that requires banks and brokers to take all reasonable steps to get the best possible deal when executing orders on behalf of customers.

Haynes, the former head of Chi-X, said Aquis’ primary aim for its second year would be to get the remaining four or five major investment banks yet to join its service to sign up. (1 US dollar = 0.8022 euro) (Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by Pravin Char)