Applications by financial institutions to launch investment funds in Hong Kong have dropped by 58 per cent year on year since US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed in mid-September amid the global financial meltdown. The drop reflected investors' weak appetite for new investment products, said Alexa Lam, deputy chief executive of the Securities and Futures Commission. 'The global market changed a lot in the last three months and investors are scared to put in new capital for investment products,' Mrs Lam said. However, wealthy people were still looking for investment products to help their capital grow, she said, and the money being paid into Mandatory Provident Fund accounts every month offered a 'tremendous source' of capital to help boost the fund industry. The fund market this year would be full of opportunities, Mrs Lam said, recommending fund houses launch more innovative products. Of 91 applications for new fund launches that the commission received in the three months following Lehman Brothers' collapse, 82 were approved, she said. That took the number of funds available to investors in Hong Kong last year to 2,218, an increase of 8.7 per cent over 2007's total.