HA NOI (VNS)— The two national stock exchanges plan to extend trading hours in the afternoon session in a bid to help boost liquidity and lure investors, but the proposal however is drawing differing opinions from market participants.
Leaders of both exchanges confirmed they had submitted documents to the State Securities Commission (SSC), asking to extend afternoon trading hours by 45 minutes to end at 3pm.
This proposal was made following investor complaints that one trading hour in the afternoon was too short to be able to reflect market developments.
Currently, the afternoon session starts at 1pm and end at 2.15pm.
According to Phan Thi Tuong Tam, general director of the HCM City exchange, the bourse's liquidity increased substantially after the exchange extended trading hours into the afternoon in March 2012.
"Extending trading hours to 3pm will facilitate trading, help make the local transaction time closer to international practices and increase liquidity," Tam was quoted as saying by Dau tu chung khoan (Securities Investment) newspaper.
SSC chairman Vu Bang said the commission agreed in principle to the trading hour extension scheme of the two exchanges. They are expected to start pilot programmes next month, from July 1-5 on the HCM City Stock Exchange and from July 8 on its Ha Noi counterpart.
While most securities companies confirm their systems can run on the new operating times, they are still concerned about the payment process for investors in the afternoon, collaboration between securities firms and banks as well as longer working hours.
Bach Nguyen Vu, deputy general director of Vietinbank Securities, said if the trading hour extension was applied, data comparison between securities firms and both stock exchanges as well as payment transfer to banks needed to be executed faster.
"In many cases, late transactions would be delayed," Vu said.
Deputy general director of VNDirect Securities Vu Hoang Ha agreed that the new policy would increase the burden on securities firms, particularly late transactions related to banks that usually close at 4pm.
"In addition, workload will also increase when the time to complete transactions shortens. Companies will have to extend working hours to complete the work," Ha said.
Huynh Anh Tuan, general director of SJC Securities Co, said the extra trading time in the afternoon was unnecessary at present and the regulatory body should focus on other essential changes such as raising the trading band or shortening the payment period.
"The economy is still facing many problems including the banking restructure and frozen real estate market. When these issues are tackled, the stock market will develop and investors will have demand for extended trading hours," Tuan said.
"In my opinion, the trading hour extension should be implemented by the end of this year," he added. — VNS