THOSE in the securities business for decades will remember the good old days when the market opened at ten in the morning, before halting for lunch at 12.30 pm. Trading then resumed for another one and a half hours from 2.30pm.
And with the closing bell at 4pm, there was still time to catch the late afternoon movie.
Not any more. Tea-breaks have gone the way of the dinosaurs, and going by the standards set by the SGX on Monday morning, even breakfast may soon be a memory to be cherished.
Broking commissions have been pared to the bones. It takes a lot more trading to generate the same quantum of commissions earned a decade ago.
Of course, the suggestion to scrap lunch-break is still fiercely contested by remisiers. But there is no resisting the gale-force winds of globalisation.
If New York and London can trade all day, so can Singapore, and for that matter, the rest of the Asian bourses.
In previous years, the SGX chose to release its results and brief the media/analysts after closing bell at 5pm.
But on Monday, it may have set the pace for others to follow, by releasing its results early in the morning and then kicking off a briefing which started at 8.30am and lasted until almost 10am.
Fortunately, there was a webcast for those who preferred to listen to the briefing from their offices or their homes for that matter — if they don't want to fight with the rest of the morning crowd rushing to work in the CBD area.
To be expected from the sluggish trading activities in recent months, the SGX reported a 12.7 per cent drop in quarterly profit to $79.6 million and a 4.5 per cent fall in revenues to $162.33 million.
My observation is that while a big part of SGX's "clientele" stays local, with remisiers contributing to a significant part of its income, its business is a lot more globalised than many other Singapore companies.
As such, it is reaping fewer of the benefits that occurred when the local economy took off like a rocket earlier this year.
But pointed questions were raised on Monday morning on the SGX’s clearing fee structure by one analyst who noted that other exchanges had been cutting them in response to stiff competition.
Currently, the SGX's daily market turnover is only a fraction that of much bigger bourses like Hong Kong and New York.
It will be interesting to see how the next few quarters pan out for the SGX, if trading conditions stay lacklustre.