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Stock traders have called for a shortening of opening hours at their markets from 8am until 4.30pm to 9am until 4pm.

The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) has insisted that it wants to see the London Stock Exchange, along with trading venues in other parts of Europe, adjust their opening hours in the interest of efficiency and diversity within the investment management and banking industries.

The London Stock Exchange has said that it will launch a consultation in response to the idea.

According to the AFME, a 90-minute reduction in the opening hours of markets in Europe would make them more efficient, partly because relatively little trading happens on those markets in the first hour after they open, while the final hour of each day typically attracts “around 35 per cent of total daily volume”.

The view of the association is that shortening the opening hours of major stock markets will also help to improve the mental health and wellbeing of people who work within the associated institutions.

"The view of the association is that shortening the opening hours of major stock markets will also help to improve the mental health and wellbeing of people who work within the associated institutions."

Markets in other parts of the world, including in the US and Asia, already operate on the basis of significantly shorter days than those that are the norm in Europe.

Traders in Europe also tend to be expected to start their working days well in advance of an 8am opening time and to finish their days long after their markets officially close.

These long days are understood to be a significant deterrent to diversity within the stock markets of London and elsewhere, with people who have childcare commitments particularly impacted by the issue.

“A shorter trading day would not only improve market structure but would also go a long way towards building a more diverse trading floor and fostering better mental health,” says April Day, the managing director of equities at AFME.

“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,” she added.

The Investment Association, which represents investment managers in the UK, is supporting the call for a shortening of stock market trading hours and suggested it could help turn the associated industries into “more inclusive environments”.

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