The Sir Robert Ho Tung Charitable Fund's trustee wants court approval to delegate its power of investment to other financial specialists, including its subsidiary companies. HSBC Trustee (Hong Kong) Ltd wants to be able to better administer the trust, which is now worth more than $451 million, the Court of First Instance heard. The company, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings, was appointed trustee of the charitable fund, set up with just $500,000 by tycoon Sir Robert Ho Tung before his death on April 26, 1956. Barrister Geoffrey Ma, SC, for the trustee, said the scheme would allow 'timely and crucial' investments in stocks and shares by financial institutions with the necessary expertise. Mr Ma said the plan was necessary because of the growing size of the fund. He is also seeking an order to allow the trustee to appoint any HSBC subsidiary company to manage the fund, arguing it would be otherwise unfair. The trustee has been seeking, and acting on, investment advice from various fund managers, including its subsidiary HSBC Asset Management (Bahamas) Ltd, the court heard. Lawyer Nelson Miu Liong, for the Secretary for Justice, said the Government did not oppose the application but urged the court to ban the trustee from appointing any company that was wholly owned by the HSBC group, as this would involve a possible conflict of interest. Mr Justice Michael Hartmann said he did not want to impose any 'artificial restrictions' on the trustee by limiting its choice. He said he was concerned that the trustee might not be able to make the best decisions about the fund if it were not allowed to use subsidiary companies. A ruling will be made later.