A Stock Exchange survey has found the number of Hong Kong investors trading in stocks has surged over the past three years but investor education remains poor. The survey, conducted in the second half of last year, showed 16 per cent of Hong Kong adults were stock investors, a 60 per cent rise in retail participation compared with the previous poll in 1994. A stock exchange spokesman said one-third of all investors had bought listed stocks for the first time during the past two years. He said: 'First-time investors tended to be less well-educated than longer-term investors, were more prepared to take risks and had shorter investment time frames.' The spokesman said 10,000 people attended investment seminars organised by the exchange in the second half of last year. Additional resources would be spent over the next two years. The survey found investors were dissatisfied with the initial public offering mechanism and considered there was not enough information available about brokerage services. Most shareholders considered brokerage services to be satisfactory, but 61 per cent said there was inadequate information about brokers. The survey found investors were trading more frequently than previously, making an average of 10 transactions during the past 12 months, compared with four in 1994. The typical investor was a male, white-collar worker in his late 30s, with secondary or higher education and a monthly income of about $22,500. The three main reasons for stock investment were the high rate of return (30 per cent of all investors); influence of friends and relatives (20 per cent), and a good understanding of the stock market (19 per cent). Most investors said they were risk averse, with 63 per cent preferring stocks with medium risk and return.