ONE of the largest stock-exchange elections in Hong Kong history will take place on Friday as 490 brokers - with a total of 929 votes - select 10 members of the exchange's highest ruling body.
Of the 31 members of the Stock Exchange Council, 18 are coming to the end of their terms, including 10 of its 18 broker members and all seven independent lay members.
Stock exchange chairman Edgar Cheng Wai-kin and the two vice-chairmen, Fung Chi-kin and Dennis Lam Haw-shun, will step down.
Twenty candidates are contesting the 10 broker seats.
Of the seven lay-members, two will be appointed by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa and the rest elected by the 18 broker members on Saturday from a list of candidates prepared by the Government.
On Monday, all 31 council members will elect a new chairman and two vice-chairman.
With members serving three-year terms, the new council will lead the exchange into the 21st century.
With a large number of seats up for election, lobbying has been particularly competitive this year.
Provisional legislator Chim Pui-chung, of the Hong Kong Stockbrokers Association, and members of the Hong Kong Securities Professionals Association, have sent out letters to brokers asking for the support of their candidates.
The candidates have given details of their platforms through leaflet drops and by telephone. Last week's stock market crash has somewhat cooled the election atmosphere.
Election issues common to most candidates include calls for an upgrade of the trading system, a reduction in stamp duty, better regulation of derivatives products and improved communication between brokers, the exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission.
Candidates are divided over topics including the introduction of a second board, the amalgamation of clearing houses and council reform.