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Extended ASX working hours may benefit

MOST local stockbrokers have welcomed moves by the Australian Stock Exchange to extend its daily trading by two hours.

Macquarie Financial Services dealer Ian Clarke said extending the hours to 4pm would be a great thing for WA because it would provide more opportunities to deal.

“Our office is already open from 8am to 6pm anyway,” Mr Clarke said.

He said when the market closed at 2pm the staff all remained until the end of the business day to handle client enquires and take orders for the next day.

“We hang around all afternoon like a bad smell,” Mr Clarke said. “With extended hours it will become more efficient, with staff able to achieve more sales.”

ABN Amro Morgans Stockbroking State director Howard Dawson agreed, saying that moves to extend market hours was inevitable and a good thing, although he did not predict an increase in the level of volume being traded.

“The whole premise of the stock market is liquidity, so we need to be open,” Mr Dawson said.

He said it was a natural part of globalised markets with greater accessibility.

CIBC Eyres Reed dealer Martin Angel said that, while it was an inevitable progression, it would be a bad thing for stockbrokers who already were working long hours.

“I think we in WA work long enough anyway because of the time difference. It is going to make it more difficult,” he said. “You are going to have to have more staff to man the desks after 2pm.

“It is going to be inconvenient if you are up at 5am and work through to 6pm. It ends up being a pretty long day. All this is going to do is make it a longer day.”

Mr Dawson said ABN Amro Morgans, which was formerly known as Morgan Stockbroking, had moved away from a pure stockbroking firm to one involved in complete investment planning. He said it was important to present clients with a balanced portfolio rather than relying only on the sharemarket.

The diversification also insulated the firm from the downturn in stockbroking, Mr Dawson said.

Hartley Poynton wealth management head David Craig said he would be comfortable with extended hours unless it was extended to New Zealand or United States times.

He said a lot would depend on the level of interest shown from clients in using the extended hours.

Australian Shareholders Association WA chairman Anne Pryor welcomed the news as good for investors because it would allow people to trade after they had finished work.

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