HONG KONG brokers, bankers and fund managers are pushing ahead with an electronic matching system, which a securities user group is introducing in the region. An informal Hong Kong body of fund managers, custodians and brokers is working with the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) on Electronic Trade Confirmation (ETC), an electronic matching system. ETC is intended to replace all telephone calls, fax transmissions and manual matching of investment orders, allowing automatic daily reconciliations. It allows a software programme to match buy and sell orders, eliminating paper-based transactions. SWIFT said ETC would be plugged into its highly protected network. 'The SWIFT network is probably as secure as any national defence system,' said David Boehm, its regional general manager for securities and financial trading services. Representatives from SWIFT and from the Depository Trust Co (DTC) are in Hong Kong this week to brief a pilot group about a DTC product which will link in with SWIFT. Ideally a fund manager in New York would like to be able to use ETC and SWIFT to execute a trade in Malaysia, without waiting for the start of the working day in Malaysia, Mr Boehm said. He said SWIFT processed more than 2.2 million financial messages daily for the global securities, payments and financial trading industry. Hugh Cumberland, SWIFT market manager, said he would ask Hong Kong financial institutions when they would develop the 'critical mass' needed to get the system up and running.