Tradepoint sets back virt-x launch date

Tradepoint sets back virt-x launch date

Tradepoint has delayed the launch of virt-x, a proposed pan-European exchange for blue chip stocks being developed in conjunction with SWX Swiss Exchange.

Initially scheduled to go online in the first quarter, Tradepoint has set a new deadline of 25 June for the live virt-x launch. News of the delay comes five days after potential virt-x members were issued with beta release software for testing of the new system.

In a statement issued over the London Stock Exchange regulatory news service, Tradepoint comments: "Given the complexity of the project, further detailed planning has been carried out and as a result the development timetable and resource requirements have been evaluated."

The agreement with SWX calls for the utilisation of the Swiss EBS trading system in the creation of virt-x. Standing behind virt-x are the members of the Tradepoint consortium, a group of investment banks and Instinet which stepped in to rescue the ailing automated trading system last year.

Under the revised timetable, the market validation phase, incorporating trading and fully flexible multi CSD settlement, is expected to begin in April ahead of the anticipated launch on 25 June. Detailed consultation with market participants has now commenced, says Tradepoint.

The final phase of the implementation process, which is targeted to be completed by Q4 2001, will include the first multi CSD central counterparty for all European blue chips. In the meantime there will be a fully flexible multi CSD settlement solution available which will provide the core settlement infrastructure that the central counterparty will utilise in due course, says Tradepoint.

Commenting on the announcement Richard Kilsby, chief executive of Tradepoint, remains bullish: 'Since the virt-x transaction was announced in July last year we have been working very hard with both SWX Swiss Exchange and the Tradepoint Consortium to ensure that the market is developed as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is reflected in the fact that we will be in a position to launch the virt-x market for pan-European blue chip equities in June. We believe that we will benefit from first mover advantage to develop critical mass in the rapidly expanding pan-European blue chip equity market.'

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