Rival exchange Bats Europe takes on the FTSE with launch of the "BUK100"

William Turvill
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Bats Europe boss Mark Hemsley has the backing of several big City names

STOCK exchange operator Bats Europe will make an audacious bid to take on the world-famous FTSE group of indices this morning, with the launch a new UK-focused benchmark index.

At the forefront of 18 new indices will be the Bats UK 100, or "BUK100", an index of London-listed blue-chips.

The rival company is a division of the Kansas City-headquartered Bats Global Markets group, which in April raised over $250m through a long-awaited initial public offering on its own US exchange.

The new indices are being launched with the aim of shaking up what Bats Europe sees as a "monopolised" market. Covering large to small cap securities and 12 industry sectors, services stemming from the new indices will be "aggressively" priced, "with a long term commitment to materially reducing costs all investors", the firm says.

They will also be published in real-time "rather than most current offerings, which are provided with a 15-minute delay".

And all of the indices will start with a base value of 10,000, something Bats Europe described as a "unique detail that will ensure the performance of markets and sectors is easy to compare".

The company said the indices have been launched in consultation with 'incredibly frustrated" investors and index users. Among the brokers and wealth management firms to support the launch were Alliance Trust Savings, AJ Bell, Charles Stanley Direct, Hargreaves Lansdown and Rathbones.

Chief executive Mark Hemsley told City A.M. the indices were about introducing competition to the market.

"If you look at environments where there isn't competition, you tend to have poor efficiency, too high pricing, lack of innovation, all of those," he said. "And that's where the exchange world has come from."

He added: "Customers actually just [got] to the point where they [were] frustrated enough to want change… And we were the natural lightning rod for that frustration, saying: 'Please come in and do something about this.'"

Sara Wilson, head of platform proposition at Alliance Trust Savings, said: "The launch of the new indices is extremely positive news for the industry, giving investors the chance to access real-time stock market information from a respected source."

The indices will provide index data calculated using Bats’ own market data. They are free of charge to private and professional investors, and for benchmarking purposes.

Paul Chavasse, head of investment at Rathbones, said: "Bats is providing a comprehensive, robust and low-cost set of real-time indices to end investors. This will offer more depth to the market for data provision, giving clients the information they need to help build and monitor their portfolios better."