Digital transformation in finance and other industries might appear to occur at light speed, but start-up businesses take a long time, says Alasdair Haynes. He learned that lesson as head of trade-crossing pioneer Investment Technology Groups international business from 1998 to 2009 and as CEO of Chi-X Europe, which BATS Global Markets acquired in 2011. Hes living through it again as CEO of Aquis Exchange, which went live in November 2013 and is challenging incumbents like Chi-X and London Stock Exchange Group in 14 European markets. Patiently sticking to a strategy that combines a novel subscription pricing model with technology sales to other venues, the 56-year-old concedes that progress is taking longer than we would have liked. Growth is accelerating London-based Aquis quadrupled its market share in 2015 but it is still below 1 percent. Haynes is aiming for another quadrupling this year, which would be a momentum boost, but, he adds, the type and quality of our business is more important than market share. We havent had an outage in two years, which very few can say. He is making a strong pitch to the buy side, which under pending Markets in Financial Instruments Directive revisions (MiFID II) will be accountable for best execution at levels that Aquis is delivering. We are one of the few firms disappointed that MiFID is being delayed, Haynes says. Aquiss first software-licensing deal is with A2X, an upstart South African market; Haynes believes his complete turnkey solutions will appeal to other exchanges looking for cost-efficient alternatives to the likes of Nasdaq Market Technology and LSEGs MillenniumIT. European exchanges move to the equivalent of the U.S. consolidated tape promises a new data revenue stream for Aquis, which Haynes anticipates in 201718.
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