INVESTMENT advisers have urged small investors to think again before cashing in their unit trusts in the wake of the Hong Kong market's tumble. The most common reaction to a market free-fall is to sell up and get out. And investors in the territory have been no different. Reports from Hong Kong unit trust companies indicate that redemptions (investors cashing in their units) may have doubled after the market fell. Hill Samuel regional financial services and marketing director Barry Lea said the the trend was typical of small investors. However, he said: 'When the market falls you suffer a paper loss. But when you redeem, the loss is a real one.' Financial advisers and investment managers who educate clients about short-term market losses and long-term recoveries claim few clients redeem unit trust investments when markets are volatile. However, with net sales of unit trusts down 79 per cent in the first nine months of this year, it would appear the message is not getting through. According to Chris Tressider, a partner at Tressider Tuohy and Partners, many people pull out of the market first and ask questions later. Similarly, in a speech to launch Templeton Franklin Investment Services last week, fund manager Mark Mobius urged hundreds of investors not to take a short-term approach. 'This is a partnership between you and us and we want long-term investors,' he said. On emerging market funds he was even more direct. 'If you can't take the volatility, please don't invest in these funds because there will be some losses,' he said. Most investment advisers claim the market's current volatility illustrates the benefits of dollar-cost averaging. The theory behind dollar-cost averaging is that by investing a monthly amount, investors buy more shares or units when markets are in decline and less when they are rising. Mr Lea, who favours savings plans for small investors, said the regular payments helped investors overcome the psychological hurdle of buying into a low or falling market. Growing customer demand prompted Schroders Asia to launch its own savings plan last week. The scheme, which offers free quarterly switches, has a minimum monthly payment of $2,000 and no initial lump-sum deposit. 'Demand for regular saving plans is getting stronger, especially in volatile markets,' Schroders unit trust marketing manager Betty Yeung said. Ms Yeung said the plan would help existing customers deal with timing concerns.