Tuesday, May 25, 1999

Isle brokers
welcome longer
trading hours

They say more clients will
be able to do business while
the market is open

By Russ Lynch


Honolulu stock brokers who pack their briefcases and go home for the day at what is lunchtime for other people will soon find themselves working through the afternoon.

With both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq market planning new late sessions of four or five hours, those early-quit days will be over. But many local brokers say they're already sticking around through the afternoon anyway and, they note, the longer hours will be better for clients, who like to trade while the markets are open.

"It will probably be better for us," said Ted Jung, senior vice president in charge of the Smith Barney Inc.'s Honolulu office. "A lot of people like to do business when the market is open. At this point, at 10 o'clock it's finished, so they don't do anything. We have a staff here anyway. Some of the brokers take off after lunch, but most brokers are here until 4," and the new market hours won't mean a change for them, Jung said.

NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso said yesterday that the Big Board likely will introduce an evening session in July, giving investors more time to trade, perhaps until 10 p.m. Eastern time, or 4 p.m. Hawaii time. The Nasdaq stock market will vote this week on a plan to create a second trading session from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time. And Eclipse Trading Inc., a new trading company, plans to offer after-hours trading from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. by fall.

Now that daylight saving time is in effect on the mainland, the NYSE opens its trading day at 3:30 a.m. Hawaii time and closes at our 10 a.m. Brokers in Honolulu routinely hit their offices at around 3 a.m. or at least tap into their home computers before the market opens. They could be finished work, after their end-of-day paperwork, by 11 a.m. or so.

Brokers said most don't choose to do so, preferring to use the afternoon to meet with clients and do their planning.

"We're open till 5 o'clock anyway," said Matt Tanaka, acting branch manager at Charles Schwab & Co. in downtown Honolulu. "We open with the market, half an hour before," he said.

In Schwab's case, however, it's not important for trades to be conducted by the branch, he said. Nationally, Schwab operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and clients all have an "800" number they can use to make their trades.

Colin Watanabe, branch manager at National Securities Corp., said brokerages probably will have to add more staff. "I think there might be a little bit of pressure on us because, while we're trying to generate clients, we would also have to watch the market. But that's what people on the mainland have been doing all along. And it doesn't matter whether individuals are for it or against it. We have to provide that service for clients," he said.

Watanabe sees 24-hour trading in the not-too-distant future, and that will mean big changes, he said. "I know I can go to sleep (now) and wake up in the morning and the stocks will still be the same price." When it goes 24 hours, you'll wake up in the morning and maybe face a whole different situation, he said.

Watanabe said the longer hours could be good for the business in general by broadening the opportunities to raise capital.

Brian Kearns, resident vice president at the Wedbush Morgan office, said his company's financial consultants are in the office in the afternoons and can fit the new hours into their day. "I think it would offer a nice benefit to the investors in Hawaii. It would give our local people some opportunity to trade in later hours."

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