Wisdom of salmon develops behind closed doors
Bussed already . . . there's still no sign of anyone wanting to use Citybus' hi-tech bus-stop. The reason: Citybus uses proper bus stop signs cemented into the ground - not rusty old wheels with a pipe welded on the top - so they've got to get government contractors to move the sign. As a result, the bus stop sign will remain metres adrift of the new shelter until ''God knows, next week hopefully'' says Citybus managing director Lyndon Rees. Incidentally, the TV screens haven't been nicked: Citybus hastaken away the shiny new ones it put there for the VIPs to fiddle with until it gets some that are rainproof.
LAST night's glittering social affair that was the Fund Manager of the Year Awards certainly had a strange air.
Congratulations must be given to Jardine Fleming. The Micropal/Millisis computer that created the list of winners printed JF's name so many times that the programmers must have thought it had got stuck in some sort of software loop.
The trouble is that no-one new can invest in Jardine Fleming's funds. They're not accepting any fresh customers for three months due to weight of much paperwork, they say.
Hmmm. We may have stepped into a realm of unreality. In fact, everyone else in the industry reckons that they're not accepting new customers because JF's effective strategy to turn Hong Kong into a rock covered in unit trust customers has come somewhat unstuck.
The new customers it is picking up are investing small amounts and generally refusing to be profitable.
JF's Robert Thomas was asked last night how big the profit margin was on his new customers, and he ended up comparing it to one of the salmon slices on a nearby buffet table, which was so thin you could have made rose-tinted glasses out of it.
A customer willing to invest US$5,000 is profitable, but someone who turns up with JF's minimum of US$1,000 ends up a liability if they start asking for any extra services.
When the Fund Manager of the Year opens its doors again, it will be interesting to see how big the minimum investment is.
Parking mad YESTERDAY the transport department started blaming traffic congestion on chauffeured cars cruising the streets while their taipans were out wheeler-dealing, a Maoist smear which proves that the Government doesn't understand business.
Transport Secretary Haider Barma, who travels by chauffeured car himself, reckons that government limos are not the main culprits, however. He promises that all are neatly parked when their passengers are not inside.
Pity. It would be good to see Governor Chris driving himself around in a Mazda 121 bubble car with the flag fluttering from the front bumper, queuing to park it in the Star Ferry car park whenever he goes to Legco.
Sharing ideas SOME Hong Kongers have been receiving mailings from an intriguing company called Datacorp Financial Limited, which offers a range of share tips from that well-known financial centre of Malaga in Spain.
Its bulletin The Electronic Trader is very long on the ''we bought stock X at $3 to $4 and it's now $44'' sort of line, plus lots of philosophy.
They spend so much time philosophising that they haven't got round to getting registered with our Securities and Futures Commission.
After talking about major stocks such as Borland and Boeing, they then give their hot tips. Last year's included stocks such as New Dimensions Industries and Ceco Filters.
None of the many Business Post share price systems can find a listed company called New Dimensions Industries, although a company with a similar name was delisted in Canada last spring.
Ceco Filters' listing on the Philadelphia exchange has seen just three days of any trade so far this year.
There are some investments which are rather easier to buy than they are to sell.
Making waves THE ''Sink the Bismarck'' plaque at National Mutual is now explained. According to an insider who rang yesterday, the Bismarck was none other than AIA Insurance, NM's biggest rival, which NM wanted to hole below the water-line.
Looks like NZI is not the only insurance company in Hong Kong with a lively approach to sales motivation.
Circular run MONETARY chief Joseph Yam was in a meeting late on Wednesday afternoon, and the person he was speaking to noticed that Joseph kept looking at his watch.
''Have you got an appointment or are you off to the races?'' Joseph was asked.
''Can't you see my binoculars on the table?'' was the reply.
Joseph popped up again yesterday lunchtime, giving a speech at the Grand Hyatt. He seemed less bouncy and helpful than usual. Maybe he had a bad Wednesday night, financially.
He manages the Government's gigantic reserves, much of which come from betting, so this would have a nice trendy feel of recycling about it.