THE Bank of New York (BNY) has privately placed about 4.5 per cent of Wing Hang Bank in an attempt to increase the liquidity of the stock. The placement of 11 million shares at $27.50 each - less a five per cent discount to independent investors - raised $287 million. The placement reduces BNY's holding from 39.6 per cent to 35.1 per cent. Together with relations of the late Y. K. Fung, the founder of Wing Hang and companies and trusts associated with them, BNY will retain joint control of 51 per cent of Wing Hang's issued shares. ''Wing Hang's management fully supports this action, and BNY remains committed to and continues to view Wing Hang as one of its key overseas investments,'' a BNY statement said. The placement, arranged by Schroders Securities, will reduce BNY's holding from 97 million to 86 million shares. Before Wing Hang's flotation in June last year, BNY owned 49 per cent of the bank, a stake subsequently reduced to 39.6 per cent. The Fung family's stake was trimmed from 24 per cent to 22 per cent when the Wing Hang listed. BNY and the Fung family had agreed that between them they would hold at least 50.01 per cent. At that time, BNY had the chance to reduce its interest by 10 per cent. On listing, Wing Hang issued 36.85 million shares - 25 million new and 11.85 million existing shares - at $16.80 each, raising a total of $420 million before expenses. The share offer represented about 15 per cent of Wing Hang's enlarged share capital and gave the bank a market capitalisation of $4.11 billion.