virt-x, a trading platform launched on June 25 2001, offers trading facilities in the blue chip equities of the FTSE Eurotop 3000, MSCI Europe, S&P 350 and STOXX Europe. While virt-x is a recognized investment exchange under the UK Financial Services Act 1986 and supervised by the Financial Services Authority, the issuers of shares admitted to trading on virt-x remain listed in their chosen jurisdiction (ie Switzerland).
Tradepoint Financial Networks, a consortium of international investment banks and financial services, as the joint founders of virt-x, actually created a pan–European blue chip services platform based on modern technology. Swiss participants of virt-x are familiar with such technology as SWX operates the market on its own trading system situated in Switzerland. SWX ceased offering trading services for SMI shares and transferred the respective SMI market to virt-x. In return, SWX received a major shareholding in virt-x.
virt-x is designed as solely secondary market and therefore has no primary market function. In this context, primary market is understood as issuance market on which new equities are created. In contrast, the secondary market is the forum in which already issued equities are traded on– or off–exchange.
In principle, the primary and secondary markets may take place on the same exchange and may be supervised by the same authority. Consequently, the distinction between: (i) listing; and (ii) admission to trading, is indeed not expressly stipulated in Switzerland. Swiss law, however, neither excludes the possibility of a distinction between listing and admission to trading. In the certain cases where SWX admits securities to trading even without a Swiss listing procedure – because SWX has considered the listing procedure of another exchange as sufficient – SWX has already distinguished between listing and trading.