In a bid to ensure the success of the Hibor Futures re-launch, the exchange has made structural changes to strengthen its support for the product. To qualify to trade, an institution has to become a 'voting member' - acquiring a share of the exchange for about $1 million. Chief operating officer Steve Chan said the exchange had introduced a 'non-voting member' programme in February which allowed institutions to trade in treasury products only, at a lower fee. An institution which has paid $10,000 for non-voting member status can act as a market-maker for non-equity-linked products. To be fair to voting members, who have pledged large amounts for membership, non-voting members can only act as market-makers. They are not allowed to execute orders on behalf of clients. Mr Chan said the new membership class was geared to banks wanting to trade in treasury products but were not prepared to pay for full membership. Of the first batch of six market- makers for the Hibor Futures contract, five were already voting members of the exchange. Standard Chartered Bank has joined as a non-voting member and will be a market-maker. Previously, price quotations for the product's underlying asset - three-month interbank offered rate - were made by 12 major banks. In order to obtain more accurate and representative price quotations, the Hong Kong Association of Banks has widened the contributors' list to 20 banks. The settlement price for the Hibor Futures contract will be worked out by taking an average of the rates quoted by the 20 banks - after stripping out the highest and lowest ones - on the expiry date. The exchange has also made a big investment - tens of millions of dollars - to upgrade its computer system for the launch. This includes four mainframe computers. Its automatic trading system is now capable of executing 1,800 orders within a minute. Mr Chan declined to predict how many contracts a day the exchange expected to see change hands, but said the upgraded system had plenty of capacity. The exchange has opened an office on the fourth floor of Shui On Centre in Wan Chai to accommodate its electronic operations. It is sending training specialists to member firms to educate them on the product. Mr Chan said as the product was primarily designed for institutional end-users, the briefings targeted them. However, the product's design did allow room for retail investors to take part, he said.