Fidelity Investment Management, the world's largest fund management group, expects this year to be its strongest so far in Hong Kong and hopes to move into Japan's retail mutual funds market next year. The company expects gross sales in the territory to reach a new high this year, but regional chairman Stuart Leckie said the ride to the record had been a wild one. 'The first several months of 1996 were very good, and then it was a bit quieter within the summer months,' he said. 'We expect that sales volumes will pick up again in the last quarter of 1996, especially with the stock market so lively.' Fidelity is also laying the groundwork to expand into Japan retail funds market. Last November, the company was granted a discretionary management licence allowing it to manage funds for individual and institutional clients in Japan. Last week, it was given permission to open a representative office. Roger Servison, an executive vice-president in Fidelity's parent company, FMR Corp, said the company was about to begin the process of applying for a brokerage licence, allowing it to distribute mutual funds. 'Hopefully, we will be in the business by the middle of next year,' he said. Mr Leckie also serves as chairman of the Hong Kong Retirement Scheme Association, a trade group under formation. He said the association was writing to the major retirement schemes in the territory and inviting them to join.