European retail exchange Equiduct has launched ETF and ETP trading in bid to boost ETF access for retail investors across Europe.

In a market announcement, the firm said roughly four million investors will eventually have access to 436 ETFs across 13 different issuers via its best execution service Apex.

Currently, 321 ETFs are live with a further 125 set to be rolled out in early 2022.

The products will trade with 0% trading fees for retail brokers. Virtu will act as the market maker and liquidity provider for the exchange.

Issuers currently signed up to the platform include Lyxor, VanEck, DWS, BlackRock, Legal & General Investment Management, State Street Global Advisors and Invesco. It will offer investors access to multiple asset classes and geographies including thematic ETFs and leveraged ETPs.

Retail access to ETFs on the continent still faces a significant barrier to entry with most still traded by institutional investors via a request for quote or over-the-counter, avoiding best execution.

Just 15-20% of retail investors in Europe invest in ETFs, compared to 40% in the US, according to data from research and consultancy firm ETFGI.

However, retail investors showed signs of finally starting to invest in ETFs in the second half of last year, with a sharp rise in thematic ETF inflows.

“Challenging the status quo by breaking barriers and bringing unparalleled commission-free best execution to the retail community across the world is part of our DNA and we will continue to do so,” Wail Azizi, managing director and global head of growth at Equiduct, said.

Marcello Chelli, European head of distribution and Retail at Lyxor, added: "We are pleased to see that a significant number of Lyxor ETFs on several asset classes have been selected by Equiduct for this initiative aiming at improving the access of retail investors to ETFs across Europe.”

Martijn Rozemuller, CEO of VanEck Europe, said: “This is an important step in the maturing of ETFs for retail investors. Now, key retail brokers in Europe will be able to offer unique ETFs for investing, such as our video gaming and eSports ETF as quickly as they could play a game online.”

Equiduct, a market segment of the Borse Berlin, provides pan-European trading across 11 markets covering 16 European headline indices.