Ashley Alder, the new chief executive of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), made his maiden speech to the fifth annual conference of the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association last week. The speech was good, but he made a mistake of leaving too soon. He should have stayed a little longer since, as your correspondent found, the most interesting part of the day's event occurred during the panel discussion after his speech. During the discussion about regulations, the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association (HKIFA) screened a video showing a group of investors sharing their experiences about buying fund products from banks. To sum up, the investors said new regulations, introduced over the past two years to protect them, actually meant it took them a long time of going through the process of buying funds, investment-linked insurance policies and other structured products from banks. A young female investor complained that she had spent two hours filling in the paperwork and completing other procedures to buy a simple fund product. She was asked to complete a long questionnaire about her investment experience and risk appetite. Then the bank staff took a long time explaining all the product's details. The whole process was audio-recorded, and when she finally decided to buy the product, another bank staff member had to act as witness to her signing the contracts. 'If I need to spend two hours every time, I will not buy these products. It is just too troublesome and wastes too much time,'' she lamented. Her experience is shared by other investors who appeared in the video. Many said it took them around 45 minutes to two hours to complete the entire buying process. 'What the banks are required to do is not intended to protect investors, but to protect themselves and the regulators. If anything goes wrong, the banks and regulators can say, 'Don't blame me',' another investor said. The investors said they preferred a faster sales process. Instead of listening to explanations by bank staff, they preferred being given detailed brochures to study the products themselves. The lengthy sales process came about after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the SFC introduced a number of measures to crack down on the mis-selling of investment products. That came about following the Lehman Brothers minibonds fiasco in which thousands of local investors took to the streets in protest, complaining that they had been misled by bank staff and brokers about the risks of Lehman minibonds and had suffered financial losses when the US bank collapsed in 2008. If regulators and banks did too little to prevent mis-selling before, they now seem have swung to the other extreme. In his speech, Alder had expressed concerns about mis-selling. But before he introduces any more measures, perhaps he should listen to what investors have said. Perhaps the HKIFA can send him and other regulators a copy of the video.