It further said the suggested timings capture the US, Asian and few European markets, thereby covering their impact if any on the Indian markets.
In a fresh plea to Sebi, stock brokers’ association Anmi on Tuesday requested the regulator to curtail trading hours for equity and derivatives market on account of the nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak. The Association of National Exchanges Members of India (Anmi), which represents over 900 stock brokers, has urged to revise market hours to 10 am to 2 pm. At present stock markets trade between 9:15 am to 3.30 pm. The fresh request comes days after the markets regulator reduced the timings of commodity markets till 5 pm. The commodity market was trading till midnight earlier.
A 21-day nationwide lockdown is in force in the country to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic. In its letter to Sebi, Anmi said the stock broking industry, including market infrastructure institutions, have traditionally operated from offices with work from home practically unheard of. However, the broking industry has rose to the challenge quite well by adapting to the new environment. “Inspite the best efforts by all financial institutions to minimise disruption of services, it has met with partial success due to host of factors,” the letter said.
Giving rational for its demand for reduced trading hours, Anmi said not all state governments have declared stock brokers as essential service providers in their lockdown notifications, making it difficult for issuance of curfew passes to critical staff to reach their offices. The truncated hours, if implemented, will result in trade or margin files being received on time and work can be wrapped up quickly. “Currently, due to late receipt of files and erratic settlement schedules, staff have to stay back till 10 pm in office, making it difficult to reach home in absence of transport and curfew harassment from law enforcing agencies. Timely leaving office ensures staff to reach home early that minimises the panic in the minds of their families ensuring safety of health against COVID-19,” the brokers’ association noted. Besides, due to disruptions in settlement schedules of clearing corporations, the system is strained and considerably stretched due to lack of adequate staff at depositories and clearing houses.
Moreover, these agencies have limited option to work from home for their type of operations, it added. It further said the suggested timings capture the US, Asian and few European markets, thereby covering their impact if any on the Indian markets. Considering these factors, Anmi said there exists a strong case for change in timings of equity and derivatives markets to tide over the temporary challenges of lockdown. Last week, Anmi had urged Sebi to allow systematic closure of the stock markets till the nationwide lockdown is in force. Prior to this, it had requested the markets regulator to close stock exchanges for at least two days, which would give brokerage firms time to close their entire outstanding positions, in case all states do not declare stock broking as an essential service.