Obituary: Do-good Chi-X Europe

Christian VoigtYoung start-ups with highly disruptive business models usually have the luxury of having idealistic mission statements. Just remember Apple Inc. and the promise to “think different” or Google Inc. and their slogan “Don’t be evil”. In my view, Chi-X Europe was directly in that category when, many years ago, Peter Randall was screaming from the rooftops that the newly founded MTF was “better, faster and cheaper”.

Unfortunately, business success will eventually rub off that nice sheen of idealism and a less appealing corporate mask will appear beneath it. Today, Google is caught up in a scandal in Kenya while Apple is fighting an antitrust case in relation to its e-book platform.

It is not really surprising that BATS Chi-X Europe has announced that they will start charging for market data. Yes, they were quick to point out that their fees are still the lowest in Europe and that much smaller incumbent exchanges charge significantly more. This may be true, but let’s not ignore the fact that BATS Chi-X Europe just increased their prices. This move appears to reflect their confidence in their own market position and the pressure they are facing from their investors to capitalise on it. After all, the business of BATS Chi-X Europe is to make a profit.

However, it’s sad to see “Do-Good Chi-X Europe” go. Their enthusiasm and assertiveness in taking on the big incumbent exchanges was more than just inspirational. Now the lines between MTFs and incumbent exchanges start to blur and that’s something BATS Chi-X Europe will have to deal with in the future.

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