‘Extending trade hours should be decided by Sebi, not exchanges’

The extension of stock trading hours on the domestic bourses is a decision that should flow from the wisdom of market regulator Sebi, and not left to the exchanges, says Alok Churiwala, Former Vice Chairman at BSE Broker Forum.

Leading stock exchanges have proposed to extend the trade hours to better align the Indian capital market with global markets in a bid to boost business.

“I don’t see why exchanges should have a problem, given the kind of IT infrastucture that they enjoy… In their bid to garner more revenues and enhance shareholder values, they would like maximum trading to happen,” Churiwala told BTVi in an interview.

“But whether it is the need of the hour… is it what the capital markets of the country require as of now, is something that should flow from the wisdom of the regulator and not left to only the exchanges,” he added.

According to Churiwala, any move that changes the dynamics of the capital market has to have a cost-benefit approach.

The stock exchange majors — BSE and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) — currently commence trading at 9.15 a.m. and closes at 3.30 p.m., with 15 minutes of pre-open session.

Besides, with extended trading hours and operating costs going up, brokers would move towards automatic mechanisms and would result in employment problems, he pointed out.

“I think the trend will move more towards automation — more brokers would want to automate their operations with minimum human interference, and if that happens you can keep the markets open 24×7, for all we are concerned. But that would have an adverse impact on employment,” said Churiwala.

“The average broker will start moving towards automation and try to replace human beings with machines or computer programs. That will enable them to bring down their costs and complete their operations,” he added.

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