Plus Markets, the quote-driven alternative to the London Stock Exchange's SETSmm order taking system, is applying to the Financial Services Authority for recognised investment exchange (RIE) status.
Plus Markets launched its platform in December 2005 with the backing of five market-making firms. The launch coincided with migration of the top 50 AIM-listed stocks to the LSE's hybrid electronic order book SETSmm.
Plus says the move to full exchange status will significantly enhance its development potential, underpin its long-term growth plans and enable it to compete further across a wider range of equity market services.
Simon Brickles, CEO, Plus Markets, says: "The marketplace for equity trading is increasingly international, both in the context of global exchange competition and consolidation and given the forthcoming introduction of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). RIE authorisation is a benchmark standard and will enhance PMG's cross-border status and reputation."
Plus says it expects to be classified as a market operator under MiFID and consequently to hold the requisite permissions to operate the full spectrum of EU regulated and exchange-regulated markets.
The new comes as Plus reports a widening in first half losses to £802,000, compared to £244,000 in H1 2005. Chairman Stephen Hazell-Smith said he stated last year that expenditure on the Plus platform "necessarily precedes revenues and that this will be most noticeable in the first half of the current year".
Turnover in the period was up 51% to £929,000, compared to £774,000 last year. But operating costs increased to £1.7m from £1.1m in 2005. Plus claims this increase is entirely in line with expectations and results from increased regulatory and IT headcount and trading service costs pertaining to the extension of its business model.
During the period Plus counted 22 admissions to its primary market, compared with 13 admissions in H1 2005. Since the end of the reporting period it has admitted a further 11 companies and received 10 further applications.
The firm also completed implementation of an extended trading platform offering - which combines its primary and secondary market offerings into a single system - in the first half and extended the range of services offered which has gave rise to two new revenue streams in the form of trading services and market data services.