POLITICAL and business heavyweight Vincent Lo Hong-sui seems certain to continue as chairman of the influential Business and Professionals Federation (BPF), despite earlier suggestions he would stand down. Formed in 1991, the BPF holds its third annual meeting tomorrow and nominations for its 16 executive committee seats ended last Friday. Only 16 nominations were received and all candidates are expected to be elected. New candidates include Raymond Ch'ien Kuo-feng, Executive Councillor and newly-elected Hongkong Federation of Industries chairman Michael Kadoorie, and independent legislatorEric Li Ka-cheung. BPF sources said Mr Lo, chairman since the group's inception, had changed his mind and agreed to stay on for one more year because it had been difficult to find an appropriate successor. A Hongkong affairs adviser, Mr Lo said last month he planned to step down because he did not want people to think of the BPF as ''Vincent Lo's baby''. He could not be reached for comment last night. Sources said legislator Henry Tang Ying-yen had been the leading contender to replace Mr Lo, but the situation changed recently, when it was realised he had been with BPF for only about a year and was a co-opted - as opposed to an elected - executive committee member. Some BPF members are also said to have been uneasy about Mr Tang being a member of the Liberal Party's preparatory committee because they want the federation to be apolitical. But he is expected to become one of the three vice-chairmen. This arrangement is aimed at allowing him to become more familiar with the federation's business and to build up his record of service before taking over as chairman next year. Mr Tang aside, the federation will also get another new vice-chairman, Mr Chan Wing-kee, who is an incumbent executive committee member. Mr Chan, a local deputy to the National People's Congress, also sits on the general committee of the Hongkong General Chamber of Commerce. Legislator Mr Edward Ho Sing-tin is likely to remain as the third vice-chairman. According to the BPF's articles of association, half of the executive committee has to step down for election every year. Among those required to step down, four have decided not to try for re-election, including honorary treasurer Malcolm Barnett, Dr Henrietta Ip Man-hing, Lincoln Yung Chi-kuen and Chan Siu-kam. Two incumbent executive committee members have died, including Mr Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen and Mr Peter Pun Chiu-yin. Other new candidates for the coming term include Stanford Miller, managing director of KPMG Peat Marwick; Anthony Russell, assistant general manager of HongkongBank; and David Wong, executive director of United Overseas Enterprises. It is believed the BPF, whose founders came mainly from Hongkong business people and professionals on the Basic Law Consultative Committee, wants to remain apolitical, despite its high-profile criticism of Governor Chris Patten's political reforms last year. The group also has no intention of fielding any candidates for the three-tier representative government in the coming years as it does not want to divide the force of the business sector, whose interests can be represented by the Liberal Party.