Former Chi-X Chief Plans to Set Up Rival Trading System

Alasdair Haynes, the ex-chief executive officer of Chi-X Europe Ltd., plans to start a alternative trading system in competition with his former employer and traditional exchanges.

Aquis Exchange Ltd., a pan-European stock trading system based in London, will seek regulatory approval from the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority, said Belinda Keheyan, head of marketing and communication at the new venture.

Haynes, who leads the new venture, left Chi-X Europe, Europe’s largest alternative trading system, after it was acquired by Bats Global Markets Inc. in 2011. Aquis plans to start by mid-2013, subject to regulatory approval, and will offer trading in more than 1,000 of Europe’s biggest stocks.

The European Union’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive in 2007 allowed alternative trading systems to compete with exchanges such as Deutsche Boerse AG and NYSE Euronext, sparking a fight for market share. Many of the new platforms have since merged, shut down or been bought by rivals.

Turquoise, a system owned by the biggest banks, is now controlled by London Stock Exchange Group Plc. Chi-X Europe merged with Bats Europe to form Bats Chi-X Europe, while Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. closed its London-based Neuro unit.

Plataforma Alternativa de Valores Espanoles, or PAVE, which sought to provide an alternative trading system for Iberian markets, halted operations in February citing a difficult financial environment. Equiduct Systems Ltd., the European trading system owned by Citadel LLC and Knight Capital Group Inc., is seeking new investors, two people familiar with the matter said in June.


Technology Specialists


Aquis will use its own system and has hired four former Chi-X technology specialists, Keheyan said. Haynes raised the funds for the new venture from private individuals.

The company will offer so-called co-location services, enabling customers to place servers near an exchange’s systems. The setup allows firms to reduce the time it takes to receive an execution or confirm that their order was canceled. Aquis will give traders a choice of who provides clearing services for their transactions.

Before Chi-X, Haynes was the CEO of New-York based Investment Technology Group Inc.’s international business in London. He left ITG in 2009 after a decade.

Haynes has traded stocks and derivatives over 30 years, including stints at Morgan Grenfell, Bankers Trust and UBS AG, where he was responsible for European listed derivatives.