THE Hong Kong Investment Funds Association (HKIFA) has started its first information campaign using electronic media. A three-week series of daily radio broadcasts called Basics on Fund Investment is being aired free of charge on Cantonese channel RTHK 1. This follows the relaxation in April of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) regulations on the advertising of investment products on television, radio and in cinemas. Only two per cent of Hong Kong's population are investors in funds. If market research demonstrates that levels of awareness about the industry have risen significantly following the advertising campaign, the HKIFA hopes investment companies will begin stronger marketing campaigns for their products. Each of the 15 five-minute broadcasts will focus on one topic, eventually building into a general overview. Areas to be covered include the calculations of risk and return on investment funds, fees and charges, investor protection, savings plans and how funds are evaluated. The programmes began broadcasting on Monday and will continue each weekday at 3.50 pm until September 22. They and are aimed at an audience that might not previously have considered investing in such funds. Vincent Wong, a HKIFA committee member, will be presenting the advertisements. A hot-line telephone service is to be established to answer enquiries. The vice-chairman of the HKIFA, Andrew Lo, said: ''As an association, our role has been to try and increase the level of awareness of investment funds. ''We have used various means, such as seminars and newspaper articles, to familiarise the public with investment funds. ''But, so far, only two of our 39 full members and 18 associate member companies have used the electronic media to advertise,'' he said. ''So, we thought this was an ideal opportunity to promote the concept,'' he said. ''The level of acceptance of unit trusts and other investment funds in Hong Kong is very low, but the picture is starting to change,'' said Mr Lo. ''The net sales figure for funds for the second quarter of 1993 reached US$235 million, which exceeded the annual total in each of the past four years,'' he said. ''I think part of this big jump in interest is attributable to the record levels we are seeing in some of the stock markets in the region, such as Singapore and Malaysia,'' Mr Lo said. ''This performance makes unit trusts a very good diversification vehicle.'' Mr Lo said he hoped the radio broadcasts would have an effect in helping people to become aware of unit trust and other investment funds. ''However, we need to do more than that,'' he said. ''We have to get people to understand the basic underlying factors that make these funds work - and that will be more difficult.'' Changes to the SFC rules on the advertising of investment products were made in April after representations from fund management industry bodies in consultation with the Consumer Council. Robert Nottle, chairman of the SFC, said: ''The public in Hong Kong has become more sophisticated in matters concerning investment, [so] the restrictions on advertising had become somewhat outdated.'' All advertisements in electronic media must still be vetted by the SFC before broadcast to ensure they conform with the rules. ''This will give investors the same level of protection they currently enjoy, while allowing the industry to engage in a wider variety of marketing practices,'' Mr Nottle said. Three principles govern the content of investment fund advertising. The commercials must promote the overall concept of the industry more than any given company's specific products. They must include a warning at the end of the advertisement, stating that investment funds can diminish as well as increase in value. They must direct potential investors to seek further information rather than directly inviting the public to invest in a given fund.