Standard Chartered unveiled its long-awaited Hong Kong listing yesterday, targeting small shareholders with its plans to issue up to 35 million shares. The group's chief executive, Mervyn Davies, said the move showed the SAR would remain at the core of its international operations. 'The listing will allow investors in Hong Kong and Asia to invest easily in our shares. A broader shareholder base in Asia will support our growth going forward,' he said. In a bid to lure Hong Kong's ranks of small investors and boost trade, the bank will offer its shares in board lots of 50, versus a minimum lot of 500 shares in the case of the Bank of China's Hong Kong listing in July. The move is aimed at keeping down the total cost of making a minimum investment in the float, which is geared to raising up to $3.19 billion in fresh capital. The issue will carry a maximum price of $103 a share, with the bank - Hong Kong's fourth largest - ear-marking 10 per cent of the float for small investors. But Tim Freshwater, chairman of corporate finance (Asia) for the issue's global co-ordinator, Goldman Sachs, said this could be boosted to a 30 per cent stake. 'Standard Chartered has the agreement of the stock exchange to increase the retail allocation. If the public offer is over-subscribed by more than 15 times, retail shares should go up to 30 per cent under clawback provisions,' Mr Freshwater said. Mr Davies said the bank aimed to encourage active trading in the stock when it made its trading debut on the market on October 31. The bank employs 28 per cent of its assets in Hong Kong and in the first half of this year earned 33 per cent of its profits in the SAR. Marketing of the issue gets under way today and will close at noon on Thursday. The selling price will be based on the price at which the shares close on the London market on Friday. Under British listing rules, new shareholders may expect a maximum discount to Friday's closing price of two per cent. To cater for movements in the share price while the issue is being marketed, the bank has set a maximum price of 13.06 per cent above the price at which the share closed on the London market on Friday last week. That means the highest price shareholders will pay will be $103 per share, excluding fees and transaction levies. For a 50-share board lot, an investor will pay a maximum price of $5,263.30. If the share gains more than 13.06 per cent over the week in London to rise above $103, new investors stand to pocket the difference and make an immediate gain when their shares begin trading. Standard Chartered shares soared 13 per cent last week - from a close of 667.5 pence on October 11, to 754 pence on October 18. But Mr Davies - a die-hard football fan - said at yesterday's launch of the new share issue the chance of the Standard Chartered share advancing by 13 per cent for two consecutive weeks, was 'about as likely as Tottenham [Hotspur] winning two games in a row'. Mr Davies emphasised the share issue was not about raising new capital. 'We are arguably over-capitalised at the moment,' he said. Digesting the launch, one fund manager said he was likely to pass up the offer. 'HSBC [Holdings] seems to be a safer bet,' said Martin Lau, a fund manager with First State Investments. '[It] has a slightly better earnings track record.'