Hong Kong's growing maturity as an international trading centre will be emphasised at the International Statistical Institute Cutting Edge Conference at the Marriott today and tomorrow. HSI Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hang Seng Bank, is the sole sponsor and is jointly organising the conference with the International Statistical Institute (ISI), the Census and Statistics Department and the Hong Kong Baptist University. The conference will focus on stock market indexes and index derivatives trading. HSIS chairman Anthony Wong said: 'The Hong Kong futures market has been in existence for some time and is gaining a reputation in the world of indexed trading. 'Because we are very involved in equity indices, we contacted the ISI and said we would like to have a conference on both the stock market and derivatives trading,' he said. HSIS compiles the territory's principal stock market indicators: the Hang Seng Index, the MidCap 50 Index, Hang Seng London Reference, Hang Seng China Enterprises Index and Hang Seng Asia Index. The ISI is an academy of leading statisticians from more than 100 countries and has a membership exceeding 1,800. Conference delegates include government officials, scholars and market practitioners from all over the world. Mr Wong said the programme was designed to attract anyone interested in index trading. 'They will learn how different indices are compiled, the differences between various indices such as Standard & Poors and the Hang Seng Index and why there is a need for new measuring devices as markets begin to mature,' he said. Speakers from leading brokerage houses will present details on how index derivatives trading can be used as an instrument to manage a portfolio. 'More importantly, leading officials from the territory's regulatory authorities, such as the Securities and Futures Commission and Hong Kong Monetary Authority, will discuss the impact of index derivatives trading on the market,' Mr Wong said. 'For example, they will explain how they see banks using these types of instruments to enhance their balance sheet and whether they see this as a high- risk thing or as manageable risk. 'For the first time, two representatives from China will talk about indices on the mainland and how they contribute to market development.' Mr Wong said this would be the first occasion such a distinguished group of experts had met to discuss issues concerning index trading in the territory. 'We see a lot of value in this and that is why we decided to sponsor it.' . Topics include strategies in market derivatives trading; the impact of derivatives trading on stock markets; exotic options; index compilation methodology; and an introduction to China's stock market indices. 'If the market requires a certain benchmark, we will launch a new index if it's practical. In the past two years, we have put out many new indices. As long as there is a market for them, we will continue to put them out,' he said.