The Hong Kong stock exchange's listing committee, the body that sets the rules governing listed firms, will see a reshuffle this year with at least seven of its 28 members leaving next month after reaching the maximum six years of service. Brokers and listed companies were interested in sending representatives to fill the vacancies following a number of controversial decisions by the stock exchange in recent months, market observers said. 'The blackout period debate has reminded people of the importance of the listing committee in deciding policy changes,' said Kenny Lee Yiu-sun, the chairman of the Hong Kong Stockbrokers Association. 'I would encourage brokers to apply to join. I also heard many listed companies wanted to do so to have representatives there to voice concerns on listing matters.' The committee in November last year announced an extension of the blackout period on directors trading their company's shares from two months a year to seven months a year, prompting more than 200 companies to sign an opposition letter. Initially, the committee was unmoved, only agreeing to postpone the implementation. However, as more tycoons and companies lobbied the government and the Securities and Futures Commission, by February the ban had been cut to three months a year. The bourse yesterday issued an open letter to invite applications until April 27 to join the listing committee for a 12-month term starting next month with an annual pay of HK$80,000 each. The committee, formed by HKEx chief executive Paul Chow Man-yiu, accountants, lawyers, brokers, fund managers and listed company representatives, meets weekly to vet listing applications and quarterly on policies governing listed firms. Normally, only two to three members are changed each year, but because of the six-year cap on reappointment, this year at least seven will depart. They include committee chairman William McAfee, deputy chairman Tony Tsoi Tong-hoo, accountants Roger Best and Ernest Ip Koon-wing, broker Stephen Hui Chiu-chung, investment banker Alex Ko Po-ming and Dickson Concepts (International) chief executive Raymond Lee. Some observers also expected the government to ask its favoured candidates to apply, but a spokesman for the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau yesterday said the government 'has not and will not nominate any candidate to join the listing committee'. The candidates will be reviewed and appointments chosen by the six-member listing nomination committee based on their knowledge of the listing rules. The six members include HKEx chairman Ronald Arculli, exchange directors Laura Cha Shih May-lung and John Strickland, SFC chairman Eddy Fong Ching and two directors of the commission. Separately, the exchange yesterday announced three members will run for two vacancies for its director election to be held on April 23. The trio includes Bank of East Asia adviser Chan Tze-ching, HKEx director John Williamson and individual investor Gilbert Chu Kwok-tsu.