Hong Kong – In its heyday in the 1980s, more than a thousand brokers dressed in signature red blazers made deals on the trading floor of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in what was a raucous, competitive bear pit.

But as electronic and internet services burgeoned, brokers drifted away to corporate offices.

“Advances in electronic trading and technology have made our work much more convenient, but now it lacks the communal atmosphere that has given me many memories,” said Christopher Cheung, a lawmaker representing the financial services sector who used to trade on the exchange floor.

Part of the Hong Kong Exchange (HKEX) building in the bustling Central district, it hummed with energy as brokers exchanged gossip, gesticulated wildly and yelled into telephones.

Three years later brokers were able to trade away from the hall as terminals were installed in their own offices.

More brokers drifted away from the communal hall and the handful of firms that remained mostly used it as an affordable and conveniently located office space.

© AFP Anthony WALLACE With just a handful of brokers left on the floor following the move to electronic trading, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's historic trading hall will close at the end of the month

© AFP Anthony WALLACE – With just a handful of brokers left on the floor following the move to electronic trading, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s historic trading hall will close at the end of the month