The 2014 Trading Technology 40: Alasdair Haynes


Alasdair Haynes
Aquis Exchange
(Previously not ranked)

Pondering his next move after stepping down as CEO of Chi-X Europe, which was sold to BATS Global Markets (see Chris Isaacson, No. 8) in late 2011, Alasdair Haynes had an epiphany about pricing: “the subscription model — all you can eat,” to be exact. “Every industry that has tried subscription pricing has grown,” says Haynes, citing the example of mobile phones and pay television. He believes a “telecomslike approach” has the power to disrupt the European exchange industry’s duopolistic status quo, and his Aquis Exchange will put that theory to the test. “Ninety percent or more of equity trading takes place on the [countries’ respective] national exchanges and BATS Chi-X Europe,” notes the 54-year-old, who formed the London company in November 2012 with backing from private investors. The Warsaw Stock Exchange took a 30 percent stake last August, and in November, Aquis opened for trading with the approval of the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority. Haynes is touting proprietary technology — developed by Chi-X alumni — and a flat fee schedule that he says can undercut exchange customer charges by as much as tens of millions of dollars annually. “We did a pilot launch with a handful of customers,” says the CEO, and “2014 will be about execution and building market share.” He concedes there are skeptics but has proved them wrong before, while spearheading Investment Technology Group’s international e-trading strategy from 1998 to 2009 and again in his two years’ leading Chi-X. “Europe must have a third player,” he adds. “Fair, simple and transparent is what an exchange ought to be.”

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