Bankers call for London Stock Exchange to cut trading hours

Bankers in the City are demanding that stock markets open at least an hour later than they currently start trading and close early too.

Traders at investment banks have formally written to the London Stock Exchange calling for the 8am start to move forward to either 9am or 9.30am, closing at either 4pm or 4.30pm.

If successful, the changes would cut 90 minutes off official trading times, with bosses claiming it would create “more efficient markets, benefitting savers and investors”.

The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) and the Investment Association (IA), which represent investors with £7.7 trillion of assets, submitted the request in a consultation response, adding that costs would come down because trades would be more evenly spread during the day.

They said currently investors buying and selling shares will pay up to three times more for the privilege in the final 30 minutes of trading compared with the first 30 minutes of the day.

The groups are also calling for a 12-month pilot across all European exchanges to test the impact and believe the reduction would improve mental health across the City.

Galina Dimitrova, director of Capital Markets at the IA, said: “It’s high time we end the long hours culture, which is detrimental to diversity and mental health, and inefficient for the markets.

“The London Stock Exchange now has the opportunity to lead the way. We will be looking for exchanges across Europe to follow suit and engage with their members to explore next steps, as the case for shorter market hours is clear.”

Banks have previously complained that they are struggling to recruit traders, due to the long hours of work expected.

April Day, head of equities at AFME, added: “For a change to happen, there has to be coordination between the exchanges across Europe.

“We believe that a shorter trading day will improve liquidity (cash in the system) in Europe as, rather than being thinly spread over an extended period of time, trades will be more evenly distributed over a shorter trading day.

“This will create more effective markets, reducing trading costs for market participants and investors. Adjusting market hours is also a first step towards further improving culture and diversity in our industry.”

The review is part of a consultation launched by the London Stock Exchange in December, which closes on Friday.

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