More brokers are in favour of trading Hang Seng Index (HSI) futures electronically following last Saturday's test of the Hong Kong Automated Trading System, according to the futures exchange. A survey of exchange brokers showed 75 out of 106 brokers interviewed believed the system could handle the HSI futures trading, up from 40 in a survey the previous week. The number of brokers who did not believe the system had worked decreased to 27 from 54. However, some brokers said it was not justified to compare the two results since the two tests were based on different standards. 'The previous test was set at up to five times the normal trading volume, while the latest test was only set at 3.5 times,' Tung Tai Futures dealing director Kenny Yan King-tang said. The test also revealed the system had up to a 44-second delay for confirming orders. Brokers said open-outcry trading only took about 30 seconds to confirm orders. Other brokers said reasons for migrating from the open-outcry might be stronger as allegations about improper tradings under the system appeared. Meanwhile, German-based brokerage Deutsche Futures Hong Kong said yesterday the firm had suspended its floor-trading team for an investigation of improper trading activities. 'We received a number of letters regarding allegations about improper trading practices by [our] floor-trading team,' said Simon Locke, spokesman of Deutsche Hong Kong. Mr Locke said the brokerage would carry out its clients' futures orders through third-party brokers until the investigation was completed. Market sources said improper trading activities, or so-called rat trading, for the HSI futures seemed to be getting fierce recently as the product moved towards electronic trading - a far more transparent trading system. '[Electronic trading] is able to document what people do and catch illegal activities more easily,' Timber Hill Hong Kong managing director David Friedland said. 'It [rat trading activities] certainly is one of the reasons [for open-outcry] to go.'