Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has accepted that the securities watchdog should use a different regulatory approach on a rival derivatives trading platform to be launched by Cheung Kong (Holdings), according to HKEx chairman Charles Lee Yeh-kwong. Mr Lee last night said the exchange had accepted that the Securities and Futures Commission ought to use a less strict approach to Cheung Kong's electronic platform iMarkets, based on the condition that the platform is only for professional investors. He blamed a dispute between the exchange, the SFC and Cheung Kong on a 'misunderstanding'. Mr Lee's comments mark a U-turn by the exchange, as its chief operating officer, Frederick Grede, earlier this week voiced strong opposition to the SFC applying what he said were double standards towards iMarkets and HKEx. Mr Lee said the change of attitude of the HKEx over the issue was in light of an SFC statement yesterday afternoon. The SFC said it planned to use different standards because iMarkets was for professional investors only, which was different to HKEx, whose products could be traded by retail investors. However, the SFC said if HKEx 'wishes to provide services similar to iMarkets it is free to do so and the new venture would be treated on the same basis as iMarkets'. Mr Lee said: 'The HKEx has accepted the explanation of the SFC and that the debate between the two sides is only due to a misunderstanding.' Property developer Cheung Kong has teamed up with five investment banks to prepare to offer an equity-linked notes (ELNs) trading platform to brokers. A Cheung Kong spokesman confirmed the group was preparing to launch the platform but would not confirm that the launch date would be as early as November 15, as the market has speculated. The platform puts it in direct competition with HKEx, which also plans to launch trading in ELNs, which allow investors to bet on stock-price movements. Mr Grede had claimed the SFC would be applying more relaxed regulatory standards to iMarkets if it were to be launched earlier than the HKEx products. He said HKEx had planned to launch ELN trading 18 months ago but had had to wait for approval from the SFC on product design, disclosure requirements, fees and charges, and marketing strategy. SFC executive director Mark Dickens said the SFC had issued a securities dealer licence to iMarkets, but before the platform could be launched it needed approval from the SFC for additional conditions. Mr Dickens said the SFC was still negotiating with iMarkets on the conditions and there was no deadline on the talks. The SFC said iMarkets was not illegal and that it did not infringe on HKEx's monopoly as the only stock market in Hong Kong.