THE stock exchange has secured the participation of 15 members in a pilot simulation of stock options trading scheduled in March. The scheme will run before the formal two-month simulation starting in June. Steve Rive, the exchange's executive director for options market development, said the pilot scheme represented a preliminary system testing involving a sample of brokers to help bring about the smoother running of the formal simulation programme which all intending stock options brokers were recommended to join. 'We want to do some preliminary checking of the system and network with a small group of brokers before the full simulation,' he said, adding the pilot simulation would last for 'a few weeks'. He said 15 members should be enough for the pilot simulation. Among the participants in the exercise are nine members from the Hong Kong Stockbrokers Association. Association chairman Chu Chung-tin, one of the participants, said a preliminary simulation was desirable as it would help eliminate problems. 'There should be people to blaze the trail for other industry players,' said Mr Chu. Some of the 15 participants are also members of the German Futures and Options Exchange, which uses the Deutsche Terminborse software system to be adopted for local stock options trading. Mr Rive said they could facilitate the pilot programme by bringing with them the requisite expertise from their German offices. Brokers should pass an examination to qualify for broking in stock options. Mr Rive said the passing rate was high in the two examinations that had been conducted. A stock exchange stock options trading system is a means by which investors can trade derivative instruments on ordinary shares listed and traded in Hong Kong. An option is an entitlement, but not an obligation, to buy or sell a given investment at a predetermined price over a predetermined period.