Hong Kong brokers in lunch break fury

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The Independent Online

Hong Kong stockbrokers yesterday marched through the city's financial district in a last-ditch effort to stop bosses from shortening their 90-minute lunch break.

The brokers enjoyed two and a half hours off at lunchtime until last year, when Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, which runs Hong Kong's stock market, slashed the trading break to 90 minutes. Now they want to trim it again, down to an hour, from next month.

Outraged at the scheme, the stockbrokers marched along Hong Kong's central business district brandishing cut-out figures of the exchange's chief executive and chairman.

The HKEC wants to boost competitiveness by bringing trading hours in line with rival bourses in Asia and the West. But protesters claim they will not have enough time to mingle with clients, research stocks or attend presentations on initial public offerings.

"Our lunch hour can be very stressful as well. We still have to rush," Danny Lam, a broker at Kingston Securities, said.