Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) will consolidate derivatives trading after the shift of the Hang Seng Index (HSI) futures and options contracts to electronic trade next month. The move could result in a common trading platform for both stock options and stock and index futures, ending the separation between the products' trading. Frederick Grede, deputy chief operating officer of HKEX and the chief executive of the futures exchange, said: 'We will form a plan to consolidate stock options operation.' Under the blueprint of the merger of the two exchanges, derivatives, including options and futures products, would be consolidated into a single operation, he said. He did not rule out the possibility that the futures exchange's Hong Kong Automated Trading System, which will replace the open outcry system of HSI products on June 5, would handle stock options trading in the future. Paul Whitmore, consultant for the HSI products migration plan, echoed the view, saying that making equity options and futures trade together would be a way 'to rationalise the existing trading platform'. The move could allow a cross margin between different derivatives markets, making trading more cost-effective, Mr Whitmore said. At present, the stock exchange - the cash market unit of HKEX - carries out stock options operation, while the futures exchange handles stock futures and all index futures. There was intense competition between the two exchanges in the mid-1990s when stock options and stock futures were launched. According to Mr Grede, the stock options operation was still making a loss. Similarly, stock futures account for a minimal amount of the futures exchange's turnover. Meanwhile, Mr Grede said the futures exchange was considering new products for possible introduction. 'A couple of months after the [HSI] electronic migration, a new product could be launched in September,' he said. Executive director Jimmy Ho Tseng-ming said an extension of the existing Hong Kong interbank offered rate (Hibor) futures products was likely to be the first to be launched. 'The Hibor futures available now can cover only a two-year period at most,' Mr Ho said. The contract could be extended to three years since that was the usual time frame in the debt market, he said.