Pan-European equity trading venue Quote MTF has severed all ties with Peter Beck, controversial CEO of the former day trading firm Swift Trade, which has run foul of global regulators for alleged market abuse.
The Quote MTF Board says it has acquired former chairman Beck's shares in the venture, held by Canadian firm BRMS Holdings, "removing any association between the European regulated liquidity pool and Mr. Beck".
Beck's now defunct Swift Trade firm was slapped with an £8 million fine by the FSA in August for engaging in 'layering', in which an army of day traders was used to create an artificial market in the prices of shares traded on the London Stock Exchange. The FSA decision notice described Swift Trade's actions in the markets as a "particularly serious case of market abuse".
An aggressive shorter, Beck has courted controversy in the past, with a string of hearings in Ontario relating to a complex web of share ownership in multiple related trading operations and holding companies.
One of these companies, BRMS Holdings, held a 60% stake in Quote MTF, which entered the crowded post-MiFID market in September 2009. Quote MTF has been negotiating with broker dealers and investment banks to offload a 40% stake in the firm in return for liquidity guarantees.
Christian Bower, member of the board, at Quote MTF, states: "While there were no executive or operational relations between Quote MTF and Swift Trade, nor any trading relationship between the two firms, Quote MTF recognises that ownership of an unregulated day trading company, with the political and regulatory exposure this brings, has proven incompatible with the high standards of independence and transparency that an exchange must observe. We wish to reassert that Quote MTF retains an unblemished regulatory record."
Commenting on the liquidity agreements, Bower adds: "We continue now to focus on the development of our service offering, advancement of our technologies and the recruitment of liquidity providers and broker subscribers"