Friday 8 November 2019 4:14 am

DEBATE: Should the London Stock Exchange cut its hours to improve work-life balance for traders?

Should the London Stock Exchange cut its hours to improve work-life balance for traders?

Galina Dimitrova, director of investment and capital markets at the Investment Association, says YES.

Trading hours in the UK are 8am to 4:30pm GMT — some of the longest in the world. That doesn’t sound like a long day, but traders start work long before markets open and often stay past close.

This has an impact on their mental health and wellbeing, and it also means that trading floors are less diverse than they should be.

Shortening trading hours could help combat the long-hours culture and associated impact on wellbeing, while also making these jobs more accessible to women and people with caring responsibilities.
This can only be a good thing.

Crucially, most trading happens at the end of the day, so shortening hours would also help make markets more efficient and lead to more consistent trading costs. That’s why we’re calling on exchanges across Europe to reduce their trading hours to the benefit of savers and those who operate them.

David Buik, a market commentator at Core Spreads, says NO.

I am sure some very erudite “experts” helped the Investment Association and the Association of Financial Markets in Europe cobble together this idea of shortening trading hours at the London Stock Exchange. Respectfully, the idea has zero credibility.

Markets are global — they never sleep. Market protagonists — both men and women — must adapt to markets, rather than markets accommodating those who are working in them.

We all want a better quality of life. However, the remuneration in the trading industry is mouth-wateringly attractive. Traders must live by the sword or die by it. If the heat in the kitchen is too hot, get out.

With globalisation increasing its influence everywhere, and with Europe both salivating and breathing down London’s neck post-Brexit, I would like to see dealing rooms in all financial centres manned around the clock, which will require the employment of more traders and brokers. That might alleviate the intense pressure that dealers and managers feel.

Main image credit: Getty

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