Bankers, insurers and brokers reacted positively to the government bond programme, saying they believed the low-risk products would be popular among local investors. Hong Kong Stockbrokers' Association chairman Kenny Lee Yiu-sun said a government bond would be attractive as long as it could provide a return at about 2 per cent a year. 'The bank deposit rate is close to zero and it forces the depositors to seek a better alternative to time deposits,' he said. 'But the stock market is so volatile these days, which discourages investors who do not have a high-risk appetite.' Mr Lee said stockbrokers could act as sales agents for the government bonds because they would be listed on the stock market allowing them to be traded like stocks. Peter Wong Tung-shun, the chairman of Association of Banks, said the move could help to develop the Hong Kong bond market further. 'The bond yield could be higher than the deposit rate,' he said. Bruno Lee Kam-wing, head of HSBC's wealth management for the Asia-Pacific region, said government bonds with about three to five years until maturity were most suitable for retail investors as a low-risk, defensive investment. 'Bonds with shorter to medium tenors are generally found to be less sensitive to interest rate changes,' he said. 'It is a safe choice for investors who want to receive stable interest, but they should not use it for speculative trading.' Polytechnic University associate professor of accounting and finance Priscilla Lau Pui-king said the maturities for government bonds should be at least three years. 'A two-year tenor is a bit too short as the administrative costs might be too high,' she said.