EAGLE Star Life Assurance has entered the employee benefits market - an area which, the firm believes, is still in its infancy in Hong Kong. Bernard de Petrucci, regional managing director of Eagle Star Life Assurance Co, said the employee benefits market in the territory was poised to grow significantly in the coming years. Research showed that out of 250,000 employers in Hong Kong, less than five per cent offered any provident fund to their employees, said Mr de Petrucci. ''Provident funds seem to be an exclusive privilege for big firms and are largely ignored by small employers.'' He said the market was definitely changing, and demand for provident funds was rising steadily, especially among the small-to medium-sized firms of between five and 50 staff. These companies collectively represented more than 90 per cent of all employers (for 225,000 companies), said Mr de Petrucci. ''They are increasingly aware of the importance of provident funds as a means to compete with the bigger companies for good employees, but they lack the resources and the scale to administer their own schemes.'' To satisfy the increasing market needs, Eagle Star Life is introducing Eagle Select, a provident fund with group life and medical insurance options which can be tailor-made for the small-to medium-sized firms.