Industry veteran Alasdair Haynes appointed chair of new City council aimed at growth companies

New council will give smaller and innovative companies direct access to change-makers including the government, regulators and MPs for the first time, said Haynes.

Founder and chief executive officer of Aquis Exchange, Alasdair Haynes, has been appointed as the inaugural chair of TheCityUK’s new Business Council, aimed at supporting high-growth companies.

The council will be comprised of 35 high-growth and innovative companies, providing them for the first time with a platform for discussion with regulators and the government.

According to industry veteran Haynes, smaller and innovative companies play a significant role in the City but have previously not had the means to voice their needs.

“Smaller companies need representation, and access to the people that can actually change laws. Look at something like Aquis versus the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), there’s a goliath there that has so much influence – but you [also] need to have representation for people that play a very significant part in the city and finance [but] who don’t necessarily have the same views and don’t necessarily have the same way of solving a problem,” Haynes told the TRADE.

“It’s that representation that I’m hoping we can provide. If the government want to know something about insurance they go right to the top, if they want to know something about listings they go straight to the biggest exchanges. The world has changed and we need a voice from other people. The thing that is really exciting about this is we’re getting the opinion of the people that haven’t been heard properly at the highest level, both in government and the regulators. The government keeps saying they want people to come up with solutions, what better way to do that than being heard in a formal grouping?”

The new Business Council will meet four times a year, beginning in Spring, and discuss cross-sector issues. The members list and agenda for the coming year have not been disclosed but Haynes told The TRADE that they are in the final stages of confirming. According to him, it’s important to discuss all sectors that play a role in the markets: including banking, insurance and the broader financial services industry.

“The responsibility of the chair is to make quite certain that we look across the city as a whole. If you look at the insurance business, are they involved in the equities market? Are they involved in the bond market? Yes. There’s so much cross-fertilisation that I think is important,” he said.

Haynes has an extensive background in the financial markets, operating as the chief executive officer of equities platform Chi-X Europe before going on to found and head up Aquis Exchange in 2012.

The development follows several small and medium sized enterprise focused initiatives launched by Aquis in the last year in a bid to support high-growth companies.

The exchange group expanded the amount of research freely available on its website to support smaller firms with unbundling requirements in May and later in December Haynes himself voiced his support for the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority’s changes to its listings rules that would make the UK more attractive for growth businesses.

“As someone with over 30 years’ industry experience, and obvious skills in launching successful start-ups, I know he [Haynes] will do a fantastic job guiding it through its foundational years and ensuring that TheCityUK can speak on behalf of every sort of company within the UK’s world-leading financial and related professional services ecosystem,” said Miles Celic, chief executive officer at TheCityUK.

The Business Council will run alongside the existing Leadership Council, which is headed by Sir Adrian Montague, chairman of insurance giant Aviva.