epa06292531 A man poses for a photo in the trading hall of the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. in Hong Kong, China, 27 October 2017. The day marks the end of an era as the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. scrapped its iconic trading hall because of little use, as share trading becomes almost entirely electronic. The hall, opened in 1986, once hosted over 900 brokers in its heyday.  EPA/JEROME FAVRE
The trading hall of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, which launched a $39bn takeover bid for the LSE. EPA

Another victory for robots as Hong Kong Exchange floor closes


The National

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing is about to become the newest member of a once unthinkable club: stock exchanges without a trading floor.

HKEX will shut its iconic Trading Hall on Friday, 31 years after opening the space in the heart of the city’s financial district. While it survived longer than counterparts in Singapore and Tokyo, Hong Kong’s floor had become increasingly irrelevant amid the rise of electronic trading. The last time HKEX bothered to publish figures in 2014, floor transactions comprised just 0.2 per cent of total turnover.

The closing has been met with a mix of resignation and nostalgia by local traders, some of whom spent the bulk of their working lives in the space, shouting orders through the 1987 crash, the dot-com bubble, the Sars outbreak and countless other booms and busts. As the digital revolution pushed more and more trades from humans to computers, the floor got quieter and quieter: daily attendance dwindled to about 30 recently from 600 in 2000.

“I’m going to miss the Trading Hall a lot,” said Catherina Lai, a director of the securities unit at Mason Group. She’s been working in the brokerage industry since 1985 and was one of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s first floor traders. “I sat near the hallway, so a lot of people came over and asked me about the market.”

Floor trading first began in Hong Kong in 1891, while the current hall – located at Exchange Square – has been open since 1986 when four bourses combined to form the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The property belongs to the Hong Kong government, which collects rent from HKEX, at HK$3.58 million (Dh1.6m) per year, unchanged since 2008.

The vast floor area covers 45,000 square feet, and there are 906 two-person booths, which at their peak were daily homes to some 1,400 traders in the 1980s.

Herding all the city’s brokers under one roof helped bring a sense of order to what had been a chaotic market, said Christopher Cheung, the chairman of Christfund Securities and a former member of Hong Kong’s Far East Stock Exchange. Before the merger, shares would sometimes trade at different prices from one venue to the next, he said.

“When there were four exchanges, everyone was trading separately and didn’t know what other people were doing,” said Mr Cheung, who is also a policymaker representing brokerages. “With the integrated trading floor, the vibe made people more actively participate.”

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A year after its opening, the floor played host to one of Hong Kong’s biggest market collapses. The rout began with an 11 per cent drop in the benchmark Hang Seng Index on October 19, 1987 - later known as Black Monday - and accelerated the following week despite the exchange’s decision to shut for four days. It took almost four years for the gauge to reclaim its pre-crash high.

“It was the darkest day in the Trading Hall,” Ms Lai said. “Once the market reopened, everyone was selling. Nobody knew when the market would go back to normal.”

The floor’s steady decline into irrelevance began in 1996, when the first off-site order was sent.

Technological improvements did more than just change brokers’ physical locations; they also automated some of the most tedious aspects of the job. Before trading went paperless, Ms Lai said she used to spend hours on menial work, like gluing pre-paid stamps (for the city’s stamp duty) on share transfer forms.

While trading floors are increasingly rare these days, some markets have resisted the temptation to go completely electronic. The New York Stock Exchange still has its floor at 11 Wall Street, where the opening bell is a fixture of business television every weekday morning. BOX Options Exchange, which is about 40 per cent owned by Toronto-based TMX Group, won approval in August to open a trading floor in Chicago. BOX says face-to-face dealing helps derivatives traders get a better view of pricing and liquidity.

In Hong Kong, the shift away from humans may accelerate. HKEX is considering asking the government to remove or reduce the city’s stamp duty on stock transactions, according to a person familiar with the bourse’s thinking, a move that could attract more algorithmic and high-frequency traders.

As for the old trading floor, HKEX plans to use the space to bring the city’s financial community together. After a renovation, it will host conferences, exhibitions and ceremonies, according to an exchange spokesman. There may also be a small history section for visitors to see how the floor looked in its glory days.

“Some people say Hong Kong’s big time is behind us, but it isn’t,” HKEX’s chief executive Charles Li said at an event to mark the closing.

“It may have ended for this place as a trading hall, but a new big time, a much bigger one, has just started.”

The bio

Who inspires you?

I am in awe of the remarkable women in the Arab region, both big and small, pushing boundaries and becoming role models for generations. Emily Nasrallah was a writer, journalist, teacher and women’s rights activist

How do you relax?

Yoga relaxes me and helps me relieve tension, especially now when we’re practically chained to laptops and desks. I enjoy learning more about music and the history of famous music bands and genres.

What is favourite book?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - I think I've read it more than 7 times

What is your favourite Arabic film?

Hala2 Lawen (Translation: Where Do We Go Now?) by Nadine Labaki

What is favourite English film?

Mamma Mia

Best piece of advice to someone looking for a career at Google?

If you’re interested in a career at Google, deep dive into the different career paths and pinpoint the space you want to join. When you know your space, you’re likely to identify the skills you need to develop.  

 

Our Time Has Come
Alyssa Ayres, Oxford University Press

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

In the Restaurant: Society in Four Courses
Christoph Ribbat
Translated by Jamie Searle Romanelli
Pushkin Press

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Ready Player One
Dir: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance

Results

2.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 1,700m; Winner: AF Mezmar, Adam McLean (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer).

3pm: Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 2,000m; Winner: AF Ajwad, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 1,200m; Winner: Gold Silver, Sam Hitchcott, Ibrahim Aseel.

4pm: Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 1,000m; Winner: Atrash, Richard Mullen, Ana Mendez.

4.30pm: Gulf Cup Prestige (PA) Dh150,000 1,700m; Winner: AF Momtaz, Saif Al Balushi, Musabah Al Muhairi.

5pm: Handicap (TB) Dh40,000 1,200m; Winner: Al Mushtashar, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

ASIAN RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP 2024

Results
Hong Kong 52-5 UAE
South Korea 55-5 Malaysia
Malaysia 6-70 Hong Kong
UAE 36-32 South Korea

Fixtures
Friday, June 21, 7.30pm kick-off: UAE v Malaysia
At The Sevens, Dubai (admission is free).
Saturday: Hong Kong v South Korea

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Vault
Started: June 2023
Co-founders: Bilal Abou-Diab and Sami Abdul Hadi
Based: Abu Dhabi
Licensed by: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Industry: Investment and wealth advisory
Funding: $1 million
Investors: Outliers VC and angel investors
Number of employees: 14

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2)

Display: 6.7” LPTO Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, Nothing OS 2

Main camera: Dual 50MP wide, f/1.9 + 50MP ultrawide, f/2.2; OIS, auto-focus

Main camera video: 4K @ 30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps; live HDR, OIS

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.5, HDR

Front camera video: Full-HD @ 30fps

Battery: 4700mAh; full charge in 55m w/ 45w charger; Qi wireless, dual charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Dark grey, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2), USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price (UAE): Dh2,499 (12GB/256GB) / Dh2,799 (12GB/512GB)

How it works

Booklava works on a subscription model. On signing up you receive a free book as part of a 30-day-trial period, after which you pay US$9.99 (Dh36.70) per month to gain access to a library of books and discounts of up to 30 per cent on selected titles. You can cancel your subscription at any time. For more details go to www.booklava.com

THE BIO

Favourite car: Koenigsegg Agera RS or Renault Trezor concept car.

Favourite book: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes or Red Notice by Bill Browder.

Biggest inspiration: My husband Nik. He really got me through a lot with his positivity.

Favourite holiday destination: Being at home in Australia, as I travel all over the world for work. It’s great to just hang out with my husband and family.

 

 

Most polluted cities in the Middle East

1. Baghdad, Iraq
2. Manama, Bahrain
3. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
4. Kuwait City, Kuwait
5. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
6. Ash Shihaniyah, Qatar
7. Abu Dhabi, UAE
8. Cairo, Egypt
9. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
10. Dubai, UAE

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

MOST POLLUTED COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD

1. Chad
2. Iraq
3. Pakistan
4. Bahrain
5. Bangladesh
6. Burkina Faso
7. Kuwait
8. India
9. Egypt
10. Tajikistan

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

The Florida Project

Director: Sean Baker

Starring: Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Willem Dafoe

Four stars

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

THE DETAILS

Kaala

Dir: Pa. Ranjith

Starring: Rajinikanth, Huma Qureshi, Easwari Rao, Nana Patekar  

Rating: 1.5/5 

Quick facts
  • Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) offers free guided tours of art in the metro and at the stations
  • The tours are free of charge; all you need is a valid SL ticket, for which a single journey (valid for 75 minutes) costs 39 Swedish krone ($3.75)
  • Travel cards for unlimited journeys are priced at 165 Swedish krone for 24 hours
  • Avoid rush hour – between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm – to explore the artwork at leisure
The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The specs

Engine: 0.8-litre four cylinder

Power: 70bhp

Torque: 66Nm

Transmission: four-speed manual

Price: $1,075 new in 1967, now valued at $40,000

On sale: Models from 1966 to 1970

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Company profile

Name: Tabby
Founded: August 2019; platform went live in February 2020
Founder/CEO: Hosam Arab, co-founder: Daniil Barkalov
Based: Dubai, UAE
Sector: Payments
Size: 40-50 employees
Stage: Series A
Investors: Arbor Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Wamda Capital, STV, Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, JIMCO, Global Ventures, Venture Souq, Outliers VC, MSA Capital, HOF and AB Accelerator.

Ballon d’Or shortlists

Men

Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool), Sergio Aguero (Aregentina/Manchester City), Frenkie de Jong (Netherlans/Barcelona), Hugo Lloris (France/Tottenham), Dusan Tadic (Serbia/Ajax), Kylian Mbappe (France/PSG), Trent Alexander-Arnold (England/Liverpool), Donny van de Beek (Netherlands/Ajax), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon/Arsenal), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Germany/Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus), Alisson (Brazil/Liverpool), Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands/Juventus), Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid), Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands/Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands/Liverpool), Bernardo Silva (Portugal/Manchester City), Son Heung-min (South Korea/Tottenham), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich), Roberto Firmino (Brazil/Liverpool), Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Manchester City), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal/Napoli), Antoine Griezmann (France/Barcelona), Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool), Eden Hazard (BEL/Real Madrid), Marquinhos (Brazil/Paris-SG), Raheem Sterling (Eengland/Manchester City), Joao Félix(Portugal/Atletico Madrid)

Women

Sam Kerr (Austria/Chelsea), Ellen White (England/Manchester City), Nilla Fischer (Sweden/Linkopings), Amandine Henry (France/Lyon), Lucy Bronze(England/Lyon), Alex Morgan (USA/Orlando Pride), Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal), Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany/Lyon), Pernille Harder (Denmark/Wolfsburg), Sarah Bouhaddi (France/Lyon), Megan Rapinoe (USA/Reign FC), Lieke Martens (Netherlands/Barcelona), Sari van Veenendal (Netherlands/Atletico Madrid), Wendie Renard (France/Lyon), Rose Lavelle(USA/Washington Spirit), Marta (Brazil/Orlando Pride), Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Lyon), Kosovare Asllani (Sweden/CD Tacon), Sofia Jakobsson (Sweden/CD Tacon), Tobin Heath (USA/Portland Thorns)

 

 

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)

UAE's role in anti-extremism recognised

General John Allen, President of the Brookings Institution research group, commended the role the UAE has played in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

He told a Globsec debate of the UAE’s "hugely outsized" role in the fight against Isis.

"It’s trite these days to say that any country punches above its weight, but in every possible way the Emirates did, both militarily, and very importantly, the UAE was extraordinarily helpful on getting to the issue of violent extremism," he said.

He also noted the impact that Hedayah, among others in the UAE, has played in addressing violent extremism.

MATCH INFO

Tottenham 4 (Alli 51', Kane 50', 77'. Aurier 73')

Olympiakos 2 (El-Arabi 06', Semedo')

WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

Scores in brief:

Day 1

New Zealand (1st innings) 153 all out (66.3 overs) - Williamson 63, Nicholls 28, Yasir 3-54, Haris 2-11, Abbas 2-13, Hasan 2-38

Pakistan (1st innings) 59-2 (23 overs)

MATCH DETAILS

Manchester United 3

Greenwood (21), Martial (33), Rashford (49)

Partizan Belgrade 0

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

The bio

Favourite book: Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

Favourite quote: “The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist

Favourite Authors: Arab poet Abu At-Tayyib Al-Mutanabbi

Favourite Emirati food: Luqaimat, a deep-fried dough soaked in date syrup

Hobbies: Reading and drawing

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

The biog

Name: Timothy Husband

Nationality: New Zealand

Education: Degree in zoology at The University of Sydney

Favourite book: Lemurs of Madagascar by Russell A Mittermeier

Favourite music: Billy Joel

Weekends and holidays: Talking about animals or visiting his farm in Australia

THE SPECS

Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Engine: 5-litre supercharged V8​​​​​​​

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp​​​​​​​

Torque: 680Nm​​​​​​​

Price: Dh465,071

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

MATCH INFO

Wales 1 (Bale 45+3')

Croatia 1 (Vlasic 09')