Thursday 7 November 2019 9:14 am

Changing times: Market leaders and investor groups call for shorter working day on trading floors

The daily bustle on Europe’s high-octane trading floors should be cut short by more than an hour in a bid to improve mental health and diversity, two of the financial industry’s most influential bodies have urged this morning.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has said it will begin a formal consultation looking at working hours after receiving a letter from the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) and the Investment Association (IA) calling for a 90-minute reduction to the day.

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Long hours are impacting on traders’ mental health and wellbeing, the bodies warned, adding that a shortened day would help recruit and retain employees with families.

Calls for greater diversity on the trading floors come amid a wider push to improve the City’s culture, which has faced fresh scrutiny in recent months following misconduct allegations in financial sectors such as insurance and banking.

April Day, head of equities at AFME, warned that “equities trading risks lagging behind a wider financial services industry push for more diversity and inclusion unless the long trading day is tackled by an industry-wide approach”.

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However, today’s call has been met with mixed reaction from traders in the City.

The boss of one of Britain’s largest stockbrokers told City A.M.: “I just don’t know whether this is practical in the international world that we’re living now. People always get in the office from 7am too, so would this really make a difference?”

They said: “Making the period shorter could also mean less profit as there would be less time for activity”.

Another added: “I agree with the point that we need a more diverse workforce, but if you take off 90 minutes to the trading side of business, it won’t solve much.

“If anything, its worse on the IB (investment banking) side because the total hours are longer.”

City commentator David Buik said: “I doubt very much that women would care to have allowances made for them due to their domestic commitments. I think they might be appalled!

“Markets are never, ever shut to accommodate anyone for any reason. Frankly if you live by the sword you must be prepared to die by it.”