THE stock exchange has easily broken 1992's record performance this year, with 64 company listings which have raised $27 billion in capital, against 56 which raised about $9 billion last year. Among the exchange's accomplishments this year were the much-heralded listings of mainland enterprises, a growing number of spin-off listings and the listing of international firms' Asian operations. Executive director and head of listings Herbert Hui Ho-ming said these developments and the increased size of the new issues reflected the market's maturity and ability to handle large fund-raising exercises. Mr Hui said the exchange's most significant achievement this year had been its ability to balance fund-raising activity with improved protection for investors, which was crucial to the exchange's development. ''Whether they are a fund manager sitting in their office in New York or a man on a tram in Wan Chai, an investor can feel confident that investments on the Hong Kong exchange are well protected,'' he said. ''Simply blindly facilitating new capital-raising without adequate protection will only hurt the exchange and the investing environment.'' Provisional figures for the year show that 64 companies, four investment companies and 47 debt securities have been listed, with 27 warrants and nine open-ended funds. The year ends with 455 equities on the exchange, including investment companies, against last year's 413. Total funds raised, including all types of issue, was more than double last year's figure of $117 billion at $261 billion. Debt listings contributed most of this - $162 billion. With six mainland enterprises trading in Hong Kong and more scheduled for next year, Mr Hui said Hong Kong's profile as an important capital-raising centre for China had been raised. Just as important, he said, were the regulations that accompanied the mainland listings to ensure maximum investor protection. ''We could have put them on a second board and let it simply be caveat emptor,'' he said. ''Instead, we took the high road.'' This included bringing in rules stipulating that mainland firms must meet the same basic standards as local companies, and retain the services of a sponsor for three years to guide them through the transition from a state-owned enterprise to a listed entity. There have been 181 suspensions so far this year, against 112 in 1992. Of these, 10 were directed by the exchange and the rest requested by the company concerned. Only Evergo International Holdings has been privatised, against four privatisations in 1992, and four companies have changed domicile, against 16 in 1992. The listing of Asian operations by international firms such as Esprit added a twist to the market, as these firms launched investment vehicles to tap capital in markets where they did business. Esprit Asia raised $380 million by selling a 25 per cent stake to the public this month, while Rothmans of Pall Mall (Asia) plans to list in Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in March - despite current hitches. This had been a significant step forward from nominal listings, such as those of P & O and Cable & Wireless, which did not involve capital-raising or significant stock trading in Hong Kong, he said. ''I think there's going to be a good market for international companies who are seeking a foothold in China and want to see shares listed in the same time zone,'' Mr Hui said. ''I see that as a growing area in the future.'' Another indication of the stock market's maturity was the growing number of spin-offs such as Consolidated Electric Power Asia, Dao Heng Bank, Bossini and Paliburg Development to hit the market, to a positive response from investors. Mr Hui said the increase in market capital required for a listing, to $100 million from $50 million, meant the exchange had essentially surrendered its role as a venture capital vehicle and established itself as a market for larger firms. This has helped to force many small companies to list on the Vancouver stock exchange, which has a reputation as a venture capital market. Last month, Pacrim International, which provides immigration consulting services, became the first Hong Kong firm to list directly in Vancouver, and other firms are planning the move. Listing debt securities was ''a new chapter for Hong Kong,'' Mr Hui said. ''It's important for any international exchange to have a debt market.'' To fulfil this goal, the stock exchange set up a debt security working group last May and has consulted debt issuers for input.