Four Hong Kong firms have sought listings on the Singapore Stock Exchange this year and more are expected to jump on the bandwagon before July 1, 1997. That is natural. And no ominous conclusion should be drawn from the trend. Faced with possible political uncertainty, some companies jittery about the handover are hedging their positions through listings in Singapore. There is nothing wrong with being accountable to shareholders. No one should condemn their move. Securities officials in both cities said the defections were politically motivated. If doom-sayers try to make a big fuss of this, they would be misguided. Political and economic confidence in the territory has remained stable. The economy has hit troughs while the property and stock markets have shown signs of rising. The acrimonious rows between Britain and China are over; Beijing officials have become more conciliatory towards local democracy fighters; and people are overwhelmingly enthusiastic about joining the Selection Committee. All indications are pointing to a smooth transition. Hong Kong companies have grown more sophisticated in recent years. They have sought listings in London and New York for various reasons. Better exposure is one. Going to Singapore is just part of the diversification process. So far, only 15 companies have preferred the Lion City to Hong Kong. The number should not raise the alarm, particularly in light of the 500 companies listed on the local bourse. Also, those which have headed south are mostly small to medium-sized industrial companies. Not many of them would have found a good following in Hong Kong, because of local punters' craving for blue-chip banks and property companies. A more meaningful confidence gauge is the number of multinational companies establishing headquarters in the territory. Hong Kong has a massive lead over Singapore in this respect, hosting 800 regional head offices compared to 45 companies with headquarters in Singapore. If the number in the territory starts to decline, then it is time to start worrying.