July 31, 2020 / 11:12 AM / 14 days ago

London Stock Exchange in no rush to shorten trading day

FILE PHOTO: A street cleaning operative walks past the London Stock Exchange Group building in the City of London financial district, whilst British stocks tumble as investors fear that the coronavirus outbreak could stall the global economy, in London, Britain, March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - The London Stock Exchange indicated on Friday it was in no rush to shorten its trading day, after its European rivals said they opposed reducing hours.

The LSE held a public consultation earlier this year on shortening the trading day by 90 minutes, a family-friendly step asset managers and banks have called for to attract more women to trading desks and improve mental wellbeing generally.

The exchange said in June that its consultation showed widespread backing for shorter hours if part of a broadly aligned approach across Europe.

But the Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE), which represents continental bourses, has spoken against shorter hours, saying there are other ways of achieving a better life/work balance for staff.

FESE member Euronext also told the Financial Times this week it would not be cutting its trading day, saying there was no consensus among its customers.

“We think it would be most sensible if there was a concerted action across Europe, given that most market participants in Europe have a single trading desk for European trading,” LSE Chief Executive David Schwimmer told reporters.

“We will of course take that into account as we continue our consultation.”

Exchanges are focusing on keeping markets running smoothly, as most of their staff have been working from home since lockdowns were introduced to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schwimmer said there will be a phased return of up to 30% of employees to the office by the end of the year as requirements for workers to maintain social distance remain in place.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Jan Harvey

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