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Hong Kong may need to cut short its luxurious lunch

Equities traders in Hong Kong may soon have to say goodbye to lunches of sauteed ostrich and crispy pigeon and settle for a sandwich at their desks.

Equities traders in Hong Kong may soon have to say goodbye to lunches of sauteed ostrich and crispy pigeon and settle for a sandwich at their desks.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Charles Li wants to cut in half the two-hour break — the longest of the world’s 20 largest bourses — to bring trading in line with China’s financial markets. Bankers like Alex Wong say the break is useful for meeting clients and attending presentations.

The two-hour lunch break, in place since the stock exchange was formed in 1986, harks back to a slower pace of life during colonial days, said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities.

“Back in the colonial days, those expatriate bankers — super emperors — had to live an easy life,” he said. “They couldn’t take things too quickly.”

“One hour just isn’t enough,” said Wong, asset-management director at Ample Capital, whose lunch haunts include the Golden Leaf at the Conrad Hotel and restaurants at the Four Seasons, Shangri-La and Marriott. “The time will have gone by the time I’ve walked out of the office — waiting for the elevator alone could take 10 minutes during lunch.”

 
 
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