Traders call time on outsized European market open hours

Dan Barnes

Buy- and sell-side traders have called for Europe to review its equity market open periods, which at eight and half hours is over 30% longer than market open in the US (6.5 hours) and Japan (6 hours). The proposed change has been championed by trade bodies the Investment Association (IA) and the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

In their proposal the trade bodies are calling on European equity trading venues, including the London Stock Exchange, to review market opening hours across Europe and amend them to a consistent and harmonised 9am – 4pm (GMT) / 10am – 5pm (CET).

The case for a reduction in market hours is supported not only by the successful management of trading in other jurisdicoitn over shoter hours, but would also represent a first step towards “improving culture and diversity” in capital markets.

“A shorter day would improve flexibility for employees and would help to attract a more diverse range of individuals to enter trading floors,” the proposal argues. “In a recent survey nearly 50% of respondents identified shorter trading hours from nine other possible factors as a means to improve gender diversity, and second only to flexible working policies (at nearly 60%). Our industry faces more competition than ever before, in particular from the technology sector, to attract the best talent.”

The associations also noted that trading is an areas of financial services where staff face significant mental health issues.

“We believe the excessively long hours play a major contributory part in generating and perpetuating this problem,” they argued.