Hundreds of Hong Kong investors of minibonds issued by collapsed US investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings staged a protest in Central yesterday, urging the government to fully protect their interests and settle claims against allegedly misleading sales practices by the city's banks. The investors, some of whom put about HK$10 million in the minibonds, gathered at Central's Charter Garden and marched to the government headquarters, following a protest at the Securities and Futures Commission on Saturday. They will meet representatives from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority today. Since their launch in Hong Kong in 2003, Lehman's minibonds had gained popularity among retail investors because the products were marketed as 'low-risk' and of 'low investment threshold'. The minibonds are structured products linked to different assets including corporate bonds. According to the website of Sun Hung Kai Financial, a co-ordinator distributor, the accumulative subscription of its 36 types of minibonds exceeded HK$14 billion at the end of May. However, retail investors complained that they were not fully made aware of the risks. 'The bank salespeople didn't state clearly that [the bonds were] issued by Lehman,' said a 70-year-old investor surnamed Liu, who claimed to have invested HK$10 million from his pension funds into the minibonds. Other investors claimed they bought the products because they thought they were bond-related and therefore safer than stocks while offering higher returns than bank deposits. The Democratic Party, which organised the protest, said it had received more than 300 complaints and expected more to come. A spokesman for Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau said yesterday the collateral assets backing the Lehman minibonds were now in the custody of the trustees. 'The trustees are actively exploring various options in relation to the treatment of the assets, and [will] provide the latest information to the investors for consideration as soon as possible,' said the spokesman. A HKMA spokesman said the authority would arrange a meeting with investors, concerned banks and the trustees today. The HKMA and the banks will also set up hotlines to receive complaints and inquiries from affected investors. The SFC said earlier the amount that investors would recover could be less, or substantially less, than their original investments.