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Brokerages urge delay to trading hours extension   2012-02-15 - VNS

Staff process transactions at the Ha Noi Stock Exchange. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Hau.
  The HCM City Stock Exchange late last week rejected rumours circulating in the media that daily trading hours would be extended as early as February 20.

The exchange said it was still waiting on a higher-level response before making an official decision to go ahead, while Ha Noi Stock Exchange officials said any extension in trading hours would depend on what course was taken on the southern bourse.

Bao Viet Securities Co general director Nhu Dinh Hoa said his firm was prepared for the longer trading hours but expressed doubts over whether now was an advantageous time to make the change. It might merely cause firms to shoulder more costs at a time market scale remained small and investors were showing little interest.

Tran Huu Chung, brokerage director of Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities Co, warned that longer trading hours might cause additional investor fatigue in an already gloomy market situation and would make it difficult for financial services to be carried out after 3pm, the cut-off time for banks to make interbank money transfers.

Chung said the change would make it more difficult for brokerages to complete transaction procedures in a timely manner and would increase their costs.

"We think that the change should be considered when the market recovers or after June 30 of this year," he said.

However, An Phat Securities Co general director Tran Thien Ha said afternoon trading hours would give individual investors more flexibility to trade and securities companies more opportunities to increase brokerage revenues

"There are opinions saying an increase in trading time will cost market members more but I don't think so," said Ha. "On the contrary, transactions taking place only in the morning means that investors and securities firms are squandering money."

With current trading hours, most staff could finish their work in the morning, while securities companies were paying wages for them for the entire day, he said.

"We have proposed the extension to market regulators since 2009," said Tan Viet Securities chairman Nguyen Van Dung, who added that the change would help increase share liquidity and help investors eliminate the disadvantage of time zone differences.

"Only slight improvements could be expected in the present difficult context, but clearer effects will be seen when the economy stabilises, the health of enterprises improves and the market becomes busier," Dung said.

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