MEMX taps former Instinet chief executive to lead member-owned equities exchange

Jonathan Kellner appointed as chief executive of newly-formed exchange effective immediately.

MEMX, the newly formed member-owned equity exchange, has announced the appointment of Jonathan Kellner as its first chief executive.

Kellner, who had previously held the role of chief executive at electronic trading equity broker Instinet since March 2014, will assume the position with immediate effect. Kellner was previously head of Americas with Instinet, having joined Nomura in 2003 and transitioned to Instinet in 2007.

“The launching of MEMX, with the backing of a diverse and large cross-section of leading market players, is a transformative development that will drive a more competitive equity trading environment,” Kellner commented. “I am looking forward to assembling a world-class team and delivering a transparent and innovative equity exchange for investors.”

In October last year, cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase announced Kellner would be joining the firm to lead its institutional business. However, the offer was withdrawn before Kellner took up the position as Coinbase scrapped its plans to launch into the institutional space.

The formation of MEMX was announced in mid-January, with nine initial members including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Charles Schwab, Citadel Securities, E*TRADE, Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley, TD Ameritrade, UBS and Virtu Financial. No official launch date for the exchange has been set.

MEMX launched with the objectives of reducing the fixed costs of trading and simplifying execution in the US equities space through basic order types, a low-cost fee structure and the latest technology.

While market experts agreed the move could prove to be positive for markets, they also warned that the road ahead for MEMX may be a difficult one.