The Hong Kong Futures Exchange (HKFE) will see off any challenge from the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (Simex) but needs to take a more aggressive stance on the marketing of its products, its chief executive said. Randy Gilmore yesterday said the HKFE would win any battle for dominance of the Hong Kong futures market. 'The [HKFE] has the liquidity in both futures and options - we believe we can maintain that liquidity and can grow it,' he said. 'We have a secure retail base and a diversified membership base with a global order flow. We believe we will meet this [Singapore] challenge head on and win it.' Automation of the exchange could not be speeded up but the HKFE could boost marketing efforts. 'We have to take a more aggressive marketing stance for new products as well as existing products.' Simex will launch a futures contract based on the Morgan Stanley Capital International Hong Kong index on November 23. Mr Gilmore said the HKFE shared Simex's 'predatory' aspirations. 'The folks down in Singapore have the same objective as every other exchange in the world, which is to grow the market as big as they can.' The HKFE had a number of new regional products 'in the pipeline' that could be introduced next year. In May, the exchange launched a series of products based on the Taiwanese market but these have met with limited success. The HKFE would continue to look at all regional equities, currencies and interest rates as the basis of new products. Brokers said that, because of its liquidity, the South Korean market would be an ideal target for HKFE's regional ambitions. Despite the exchange's decision to cut interest charges on margin funds for futures contracts and waive all fees next month, brokers said the HKFE remained a relatively expensive market to trade. The HKFE could permanently lower exchange fees, deregulate commission rates and allow a wider range of margin collateral if it wanted to improve its competitiveness, one broker said. Mr Gilmore said the exchange was considering further measures that would enhance its competitiveness with its Singaporean counterparts. The board of the HKFE's clearing house is expected by some to cut minimum margin rates on the Hang Seng Index futures contract when it next meets on November 24. Simex president Ang Swee Tian yesterday said it was wrong to see Simex as a threat to regional and international market places. 'Exchanges that adopt an enlightened approach to competition invariably find that there is a bigger pie for all to share, as customers enjoy the fruits of improved efficiencies resulting from an unfettered market place,' he said. Hong Kong Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen told Singaporean television that he would not intervene in the dispute between the regulators. His sympathy was with Hong Kong's exchange, however, as he gathered from them that they had intellectual property which they did not wish to be used against them.