On 1 May 2020, Aquis Stock Exchange (AQSE) (formerly NEX Exchange) published its Market Consultation Paper.
AQSE currently consists of three separate stock markets:
Feedback on the proposed changes is requested by 15 June 2020.
AQSE are looking to divide the AQSE Growth Market into two segments, APX and AXS, with a stated aim of improving recognition and understanding that the companies listed vary in their stage of growth.
APX (‘Apex’) – The APX segment is intended to focus on companies already executing on clear growth strategies and thereby falling into the category of later stage growth companies, with a more developed market capital and track record.
The APX segment will require new applicants to:
Companies that have reached maturity with a market capital of over £1billion will be encouraged to progress to the AQSE main market.
The proposed new AXS segment will focus on earlier stage growth companies that satisfy a majority of the existing eligibility criteria, including the need to maintain at least one market maker and have 10% or more of their securities in public hands, except that:
Companies would be automatically promoted to APX once they satisfied that segment’s criteria.
In order to broaden the choice of advisers available to companies looking at admission to AQSE existing AIM ‘nominated advisers’ will automatically be granted status as an AQSE corporate advisor.
AQSE is keen to encourage an expectation of regular trading in a company’s securities. With this in mind it is proposed that corporate advisors will be required to provide companies with advice on how to develop an investor base that cultivates secondary market liquidity – and, in placings, corporate advisors will be obliged to confirm to AQSE how the allocation of securities is expected to support such liquidity.
AQSE is also seeking to encourage tighter spreads with the APX admission criteria. It is hoped that these will increase the volume of securities available to market makers in the provision of liquidity.
AQSE is also considering rules to prohibit or restrict short selling of securities on both APX and AXS. This would not apply to market makers undertaking market making activities in the securities in which they are registered.