Coming back to work after a 2-week vacation, it's encouraging to see that the authorities are prepared to reconsider the current regulatory model which places SGX in the conflicted role of commercial regulator. This is something I've written about many times before so all I can say is that it is long overdue.
It is however, disappointing to read that MAS thinks the continuous all-day trading or CAT should remain and that trading reps should learn to live without a lunch break. When will the authorities learn that it isn't a lunch break that TRs are asking for, but recognition that their welfare and needs count for at least something. Even though I don't buy the "gap risk'' argument which is often used to justify CAT, let's assume that it should be a factor and that investors need the market here to trade continuously while Hong Kong and Japan are open. If so, then why not open here at 9.30am which is when HK opens, and close at 4.30pm, which is half an hour after HK closes? What is wrong with conceding one hour to TRs and yet having the market open long enough to cover any "gap'' risk which might be a consideration? Opening from 9.30-4.30 would cover all the trading hours that Japan and HK are open, with an additional 30 mins to allow factoring in Europe's opening.
I believe that this would be the best possible compromise - the market trades continuously and TRs get the one hour that they have been clamouring for. It would go a long way towards building goodwill with the TR community.