The Hong Kong Futures Exchange's flagship product - Hang Seng Index futures - will be traded electronically from May, bringing an end to open outcry after 23 years. In a circular to its 130 members, the exchange confirmed the May deadline for Hang Seng Index futures and added that Hang Seng Index options would be traded electronically in June. Trading of Hang Seng Index futures and options represents more than 90 per cent of exchange turnover and they are the only products still using open outcry. The drive to make all futures products electronically traded formed part of moves to increase market transparency and trading efficiency, the exchange said. To achieve these goals, the first phase will see all members trading Hang Seng Index futures required to use the automated order matching trading system (ATS) from May, it said. The switch for Hang Seng Index options will follow four to six weeks after. The move is subject to approval by the Securities and Futures Commission. It was originally planned to introduce electronic trading in the second half of the year, but the schedule was brought forward as part of the Government's 30-point measures introduced in September aimed at strengthening Hong Kong's stock and futures markets. 'We are pressing ahead full speed with the phasing in of the $100 million computerised system, which will allow these two products to be migrated to the ATS, thus making the Hong Kong Futures Exchange a fully electronic marketplace,' futures exchange chairman Geoffrey Yeh Meou-tsen said. 'We believe to compete with the world's best in what is increasingly a 24-hour global market, we simply have to be as good as the best, and better if we can possibly achieve it.' The exchange had set March 15 as the date the new ATS system would be put in action, the exchange circular said. Three simulated electronic trading sessions for Hang Seng Index futures will follow on three consecutive Saturdays of April 10, 17 and 24. Another two simulated sessions would be conducted for the Hang Seng Index options. These dates and times will be announced in early May.