THORNTON Management has launched a trading service that will make it quicker and easier for its 8,000 clients to buy, sell and switch unit trusts. Investors using the Thornton 2000 service can telephone the fund management company and have their instructions carried out within minutes. To access the new service, clients will be issued with a membership card and a PIN (a personal-identification number), putting an end to the form-filling that once accompanied a unit trust transaction. Investors will also be able to place orders by facsimile. The service is similar to revamped trading systems introduced by other fund management companies, including the one established by Jardine Fleming last year. Launching the service, Thornton's investment advisory manager Nigel Down said it was an important step in making unit trust investments quicker and less complicated. 'Making unit trusts easier to access is the direction that the fund management industry will have to take in the future,' he said. 'Surveys have shown that one of the major obstacles reported by potential unit trust investors is that the procedure is too complicated and that shares and stocks are easier to deal in.' With a market penetration of about three per cent, Hong Kong's unit trust industry is still in its infancy compared to levels of 15 per cent in the United States and 10 per cent in Britain. 'With better education and a simplified trading procedure there is no reason why these levels can't be achieved in Hong Kong,' Mr Down said. 'The industry needs to make unit trusts a more popular investment choice, especially the larger players.' Thornton hopes to boost its share of the unit trust market in Hong Kong. It currently has about 10 per cent. 'In the next year we hope the service will increase our unit trust market share to between 15 and 17.7 per cent,' Mr Down said. Callers will also be able to choose English or Cantonese for daily fund price updates and have the proceeds from redemptions automatically deposited in their bank accounts.