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Bringing back a lunch break and modifying the 100 unit board lots
It's been more than 5 years since the 90-minute lunch break was scrapped and SGX moved to continuous all-day trading (CAT) . Despite objections from the TR community CAT came into effect on 1 Aug 2011 and, with the passage of time, seems to have been accepted - albeit grudgingly - by TRs.Or has it? A few weeks ago at one of the routine meetings between SGX and TRs, the subject of re-introducing a break in trading hours was brought up, the rationale being that it has not led to an improvement in volume. Clearly, the loss of a lunch break still rankles with some TRs (I remember that the Society of Remisiers appealed to the Ministry of Manpower on humanitarian grounds but saw its appeal rejected because the remisier-broking firm relationship is not based on employee-employer and therefore not subject to labour laws).
From what I've gathered, nothing concrete came of this request,but it's interesting that SGX didn't categorically shoot it down, suggesting that it might be open to considering it. And why not? For every exchange that has CAT, one can easily find two or more that don't trade continuously so citing the examples of overseas exchanges that don't break for lunch to me is not sound reasoning. True, I'm not privy to the fancy statistics that I'm sure can be found to justify CAT but I think it can't always be about the numbers. Is ours such an active and important market in the grand scheme of things that it's vital to provide traders constant access? Or is there some scope for change and establishment of loads of goodwill, even if it's via a 45-minute break?
Speaking of numbers. turns out that TRs also raised the issue of moving to the 100-share board lots and the problems this has created. Those in the market would be familiar with the issues - the impracticality of buying 100 shares when penny stocks are involved, the problems caused when orders are partially filled - so it comes as no surprise that the exchange said it would look into what needs to be done. Offhand the solution appears to be to limit 100 units to higher value counters but I wonder if this is too simplistic. More thought is required.