ASIAN institutional investors have more than US$2.3 trillion of investable assets and are prepared to move into a widening range of currencies and instruments, according to a survey by Lehman Brothers. More than 2,000 banks, insurance companies, fund managers, corporate treasuries and government departments were surveyed over the last six months of 1994. 'The survey does help to answer the question 'where does Asia get the capital it needs for development'? ' said Stephen Taran, senior vice-president and credit research manager at Lehman Brothers Asia in Hong Kong. 'The answer is: 'It's here already'. ' Mr Taran said the most important findings were the size of funds in Asia and that capital flows within Asia were already developing. 'Typical investors are still short-term. 'They still prefer the floating rate to be fixed and they still buy and hold,' he said. 'The most popular products are commercial paper and certificates of deposit - paper with a maturity of less than three years. 'Liquidity is still the weakest area for debt in Asia.' Commercial paper is non-bank issued debt with a maturity of less than one year. Certificates of deposit (CDs) can be issued by either banks or non-financial institutions, although banks were the major issuers. More than 45 per cent of institutions invested in CDs, while 40 per cent invested in commercial paper, according to the survey. About 30 per cent bought equities. Fewer than 10 per cent of investors bought non-Japanese Asian government securities where strong growth was expected. 'Right now, less than 10 per cent of investors are buying government securities, but many institutions said they intended to do so.' This means almost 12 per cent of institutions will be buying government securities. Mr Taran said the number of Asian currencies investors were prepared to accept was growing rapidly. While 71.5 per cent of investors invested in US dollars and 49.6 per cent used yen, the next most popular Asian currency was the Hong Kong dollar, used by 20.8 per cent of respondents. A further 2.3 per cent said they would start investing in Hong Kong dollar-denominated assets in the next year. The yuan was likely to become more popular. Only five per cent of institutions invested in the currency, but a further 3.6 per cent said they would buy yuan assets during the next 12 months. Asians were big users of derivatives. Ten per cent of investors used OTC interest rate options while a further five per cent intended to trade options in the next 12 months. Twenty-nine per cent used interest rate swaps and 37 per cent used currency forwards or futures.