With computers now handling trading decisions, liberating your traders from their desks will help them generate more effective trading strategies over the longer term.

Robert Carver makes the case for a slower-paced lifestyle for traders in efinancialcareers.com:

Smart quant funds treat their researchers like academics. Fixed working hours shouldn’t matter that much: it’s more important to give your staff time and space to think. If an ultra smart analyst does their best work late at night, then you shouldn’t complain when they come in at 10am.

Trading has changed a lot since I started. Firstly, the trend is for much longer opening hours. Most futures markets open for extended hours during electronic trading sessions so you can trade nearly 24 hours a day. Equity exchanges have been slow to catch up, but alternative venues (‘dark pools’) are meeting the demand for out of hours trading.

Secondly, trading has become increasingly dominated by computers, and as a result the job of most traders has changed radically. Traders are increasingly spending their time babysitting automated systems rather than trading manually.

Babysitting requires you to be at your desk the entire time that markets are open, but as systems become more robust smart traders will eventually delegate this task to operational specialists working in shifts. This will free-up traders to become more like the PM at a systematic fund. They should spend their days researching and calibrating their automated trading systems, and will have the time and space to think more deeply.

Banks should then start treating their traders more like academics. The culture of always being at your desk during market hours will need to change. I look forward to the day when a trader can legitimately arrive at 11am after a long bike ride, mentally refreshed and full of new ideas.