IN the United States, two-thirds of all money invested in the stock market is institutional money, with the remaining third accounted for by retail investors. In Hong Kong, the split is 50-50. There is every indication Hong Kong will follow the US in seeing a decline in retail money and an increase in institutional money. Indeed, the trend is already occurring as more and more retail money flows into mutual funds. Retail investors are in decline, but this does not mean they should be forgotten. They provide much needed liquidity to Hong Kong - and liquidity is the lifeblood of any healthy market. As such, they need to be protected. A survey by the stock exchange in 1992 revealed the second most important reason cited by small investors for not buying stocks is because they feel their rights are not respected. Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) chairman Anthony Neoh knows this. Previous chairmen of the SFC and the stock exchange have also known it. The difference is he is willing to do something about it. In this case, he is offering investors access to information many companies have ensured small investors do not receive. Mr Neoh trusts in the intelligence of the average retail investor and believes that, given the opportunity, they will act as effective policemen to prevent the abuse of their own rights. Retail investors now have to live up to that trust.