HSI Services produces some of the most sought-after information in Hong Kong. But it still operates at a loss. From its offices in the Hang Seng Bank building in Central, the company calculates and publishes the Hang Seng Index, the most highly quoted indicator of the performance of the Hong Kong stock market. But as it distributes its information free of charge, its accounts are firmly in red. This is no great concern, however, because HSI Services' owner, Hang Seng Bank, considers the money well spent. The Hang Seng Index was first published on November 24, 1969, and has since become the pulse of Hong Kong. The index was first developed with 30 constituent stocks in 1964 and was used by Hang Seng Bank as its own research and reference tool. HSI Services was created as the section of Hang Seng Bank responsible for running the Hang Seng Index. After the Index was made public property, the increasing popularity of the benchmark led to HSI Services becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the bank. Tony Chiu Man-cheong, manager of HSI Services, said the company used to finance itself by levying charges for information. Now it provided its services as a public service. 'It is a bank tradition to become involved in community service, like the Hang Seng School of Commerce,' he said. Although HSI Services has only six people on full-time staff, it now administers the Hang Seng Index and three other indices as well. In August 1994, it began publishing the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index. This monitors the performance of H shares - Chinese enterprise listed in Hong Kong. Last December, it introduced the Hang Seng London Reference Index, a guide to the performance of the Hang Seng Index stocks traded on the London Stock Exchange. Most recently, it started the Hang Seng Midcap 50 Index. Anthony Wong Kin-kwan, director of HSI Services, said it was never the intention of the company to rest on its laurels. To ensure the impartiality of its operations, HSI Services has an independent advisory committee which includes specialists from the Hong Kong Government, universities, institutional investors and the legal profession. The committee is headed by Roger Luk Koon-hoo, the deputy chief executive of Hang Seng Bank, and meets regularly to discuss matters pertaining to the indices. HSI Services usually keeps a low profile but, last year, it was embroiled in controversy. The furore arose over the de-listing of the Jardine group and the search to find replacement stocks to join the major index. There was an outcry when HSI Services announced the list of new index constituents. Companies that were omitted were angry and investors who had backed the wrong would-be constituents were bitter losers. Mr Wong said he had not been surprised by the reaction. But he said he did consider it unfortunate. HSI is over the turmoil and has plenty of work to do.