A startup trading venue looking to disrupt NYSE and Nasdaq's business and backed by some of Wall Street's biggest firms has named its first CEO

  • Jonathan Kellner, who most recently served as CEO at broker Instinet, was named CEO of the Members Exchange, the new exchange announced Wednesday.
  • Kellner had served as CEO at Instinet from 2014 to the end of 2018.
  • The Members Exchange, which was announced in early 2019, is backed by a combination of nine banks, market makers and retail brokers.

The newest potential stock exchange has picked its leader.

The Members Exchange has named Jonathan Kellner its initial CEO. Kellner joins MEMX from brokerage Instinet, where he most recently served as CEO for the past four years.

MEMX, which was announced in early 2019, is backed by a group of nine Wall Street firms due to frustration over the consolidation of power in the equities market between the the largest exchange operators: Intercontinental Exchange, Nasdaq, and Cboe Global Markets.

“It really is a tremendous amount of potential migratory order flow,” Sal Arnuk, cofounder and cohead of equity trading at broker Themis Trading, told Business Insider when the effort was announced. “This should scare the living daylights out of NYSE and Nasdaq.”

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A group of Wall Street firms are planning to launch a stock exchange that should ‘scare the living daylights out of NYSE and Nasdaq’

The new exchange has yet to file its application with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citadel, and Fidelity are among the founding members.

“The launching of MEMX, with the backing of a diverse and large cross-section of leading market players, is a transformative development that will drive a more competitive equity trading environment,” said Kellner in a statement. “I am looking forward to assembling a world-class team and delivering a transparent and innovative equity exchange for investors.”


Read more:
The Wall Street battle over skyrocketing market data fees could reach a boiling point in 2019

Exchanges have come under heat in recent years over their rising fees. Some industry experts have speculated 2019 could prove to be a breaking point in the war over fees with pressure from newcomers like MEMX and regulators.

However, NYSE, Nasdaq, and Cboe Global markets haven’t been afraid to push back. The three major exchange groups recently each filed lawsuits against their main regulator, the SEC.

“Jonathan is an exceptionally talented leader in the financial services industry with extensive equity markets experience. We are confident he will successfully bring to market an exchange built on transparency and on leading edge technology that will benefit all market participants,” said Jamil Nazarali, chairman of the board of directors at MEMX.

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