The Malta Stock Exchange has received positive feedback to its proposal to extend its trading hours and said it hoped to first do so up to 3.30pm and eventually 4pm, sometime in the latter part of the second quarter of next year.

Extending the opening hours was one of 19 points in the MSE’s National Capital Markets Strategic Plan launched last October.

The MSE has one of the globe’s shortest trading days. Only three other stock exchanges – the Lebanon, Jordanian and Jamaican stock Exchanges –  operate between 9.30am and 12.30pm and in Europe, it has by far the shortest trading day. Most Exchanges throughout the world close between 3pm and 5pm.

“There is a strong feeling among listed companies, the brokers, and the investing public that this is long overdue.  After all, listed companies, investors and brokers should get access to a full day’s trading for the fees they pay,” chairman Joseph Portelli said.

“The international capital markets landscape is highly competitive. It is our belief that our financial services sector and economy can blossom significantly further if our capital markets can compete on the international stage. No business, anywhere on the planet, can compete globally, when it only operates for three hours a day.”

The MSE is currently studying how to revamp its settlement process, and is discussing with Deutsche Borse, the supplier of its Xetra Trading System, how to reduce the back office settlement interval.

“We anticipate very little to no disruptions to a broker members’ operating day. More importantly we will communicate fully with all stakeholders and give ample preparation many months prior to the first day of extended trading,” Portelli said.

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