An injection of fresh capital into retail-focused European trading platform Equiduct shows the value of alternative venues, its interim CEO has declared.
BNP Paribas Securities Services, KBC Securities, Winterflood Securities and Viel Group have absorbed the 53% stake sold by US market maker Citadel to join existing owners Knight Capital and Börse Berlin, the platform announced today.
Artur Fischer, also CEO of Börse Berlin, said the "mutualisation" of platform's ownership will spark further growth and a fine-tuning of its offering.
"We will try and get a better balance between income and cost and we want to leverage our existing client base to generate more flow," Fischer told theTRADEnews.com. "We'll look at what stops members giving us more business and what we can do to fine-tune operations and our offering."
The platform has cut costs by 25% and raised trading fees since Fischer took over in February.
In January, Citadel, the platform's major shareholder, reportedly tried to close the venue because it was operating at a loss. Peter Randall, then Equiduct CEO, stepped down in mid-February.
Fischer cited Equiduct's 7% year-on-year turnover growth in 2012 despite a 21% decline across European lit books as a sign that market participants saw value in the platform's model.
"Shareholder value has become the driving force for large exchanges, and we are moving in the opposite direction, where the platform is simply a tool to provide the best service at a reasonable price," he said.
UK-headquartered retail-focused broker Winterflood Securities said investment in Equiduct was key to its expansion across the Continent. "Equiduct has the right ingredients for success and our decision to become involved was driven by demand from our retail-focused client base," said Oriol Pujol, the firm's head of European business development.
He added that the platform will push to break even and operate on a utility-like basis to support retail trading, but did not rule out a drive toward institutional clients. "Attracting institutional clients will be considered if it fits with demand from customers, but there is no question the platform will chiefly service the retail client base of its shareholders," said Pujol.
Equiduct was formed in 2007 in response to increased competition in European equities trading established by MiFID and went live in mid-2008.