Aquis Exchange Ltd

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Aquis Exchange Ltd
Aquis Logo.jpg
Founded 2012
Headquarters London
Key People Alasdair Haynes, CEO; Niki Beattie, Chairman
Products European alternative stock trading system

Aquis Exchange is a pan-European alternative trading system, based in London, which was first announced in October 2012[1] and which launched as a trading platform on November 26, 2013.[2] Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) granted Aquis approval on November 4, 2013. Chief Executive Alasdair Haynes was quoted by Reuters saying, "We can now forge ahead with the introduction of subscription pricing to the European cash equities market."[3]

In August 2013, the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) confirmed it had taken a 30 percent stake in Aquis, making it the exchange's largest shareholder.[4] The deal valued the exchange at approximately $26 million. After the Warsaw stake is completed, the exchange will be owned by WSE (30 percent), employees (25 percent), and private investors (45 percent).

In April of 2015 Aquis Exchange was granted UK regulatory approval for a new order type that would guarantee users of the venue the same price that emerges at the end of a closing auction on the London Stock Exchange, Deutsche Boerse, Euronext and other exchanges. Aquis's venture into this new order type is being backed by Legal and General Investment Management, Société Générale and Instinet, the agency broker. [5]

In February of 2016 the exchange said it would ban what it considers a predatory strategy known as latency arbitrage - using the fastest sources of information on prices to win out over traders with slower data feeds. It is a similar approach to that used by IEX Group, the dark pool that Michael Lewis praised in his 2014 book “Flash Boys,” which employs a "speed bump" that discourages latency arbitrage.[6]

In March 2020, the FCA, the UK’s financial regulator, approved Aquis Exchange for its acquisition of the exchange business of NEX Group from CME. The £2.7 million deal will give Aquis investment exchange status in the UK and a path into listings. Upon official closing of the acquisition, Aquis plans to rename NEX Exchange as Aquis Stock Exchange (AQSE).[7]

In November 2020, Aquis launched an incentive scheme to award its top market makers with equity in the exchange an attempt to boost liquidity on its market growth stocks. Participating market makers providing two-way prices in retail size will be required to offer spreads no wider than 5%. The scheme, slated to begin in January 2021, will apply to 50% of stocks in the Apex segment of the AQSE growth market, which lists companies with a larger market capitalization.[8]

In March 2022, Aquis struck a deal with the dark trading venue UBS MTF to transfer its business over to Aquis, subject to regulatory approval. The deal is expected to be completed in 2022.[9]


In October 2012, a group of former executives of Chi-X Europe, a European multilateral trading facility which merged with BATS Europe in 2011, announced the formation of a new exchange called Aquis. The new exchange would offer a new subscription model featuring "pay-as-you-go" pricing, similar to that of the telecommunication sector, designed to "encourage participation from all categories of professional trading firms." Users would be charged according to the message traffic they generate, rather than a percentage of the value of each stock they trade. Different pricing bands would accommodate varying degrees of usage. For small firms, traditionally at a disadvantage because of the incumbent exchanges' pricing structure, there would be a very low usage band. At the other end of the pricing structure would be the top category, where usage is unlimited (subject to a fair usage policy).

The initiative was led by Alasdair Haynes, the former Chi-X Europe CEO.

In September 2013, Aquis announced the appointment to its board of three new non-executives as shareholder representatives: Adam Maciejewski, chief executive of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, Pawel Czupryna, senior WSE adviser, and Sean Melnick, an entrepreneur and founder of Peregrine Holdings, a South African asset management group.

Products and Services[edit]

Aquis operates an exchange for the trading of European equities, as well as develops and licenses software related to financial markets.

In July 2013, Aquis Exchange announced an agreement with British Telecom allowing Aquis members to access its trading platform via the BT Radianz Cloud, a secure networked financial community. The agreement gave members of the BT Radianz Cloud community access to the exchange's services.[10] Aquis Exchange members that are not part of the BT Radianz Cloud will be able to access the exchange in other ways, including through direct line connection or co-location into Equinix’s data center in Slough (Berkshire, UK).

Aquis Exchange offers equities from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and UK.

Aquis began trading the 35 largest Spanish blue-chip stocks starting August 20, 2015, bringing the total number of markets covered by the exchange to 13.[11]

Key People[edit]