Hang Seng Index

Lai See

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2007, 12:00am

On kids, accountants put their money where their mouth is

In a city where Hang Seng Index charts and company tickers dominate the landscape, it's natural that some children are more at home with stock codes than livestock.

This week, your writer received an e-mail from an international school student asking how to track Li Ka-shing's share-trading record on a daily basis.

He told us even his dad did not know the answer. (Some kids ask their dads how to milk a cow or shear a sheep - but in Hong Kong they want to know about blue chips and tycoons.)

So personal finance is expanding to kids. Financial institutions like Citigroup are introducing educational programmes or day camps for students.

Yesterday, we noted with interest that the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants scooped the Asia-Pacific 2007 PR award in its 'Social Responsibility Campaign of the Year'. The winning project was its 'Rich Kid, Poor Kid' programme.

The bean-counters conducted 300 interviews with parents of children aged six to 12 and concluded that most parents are not confident of their ability to teach kids basic money management. Since schools do not offer a money skills course, it decided to fill the gap.

To kick off the campaign, the institute commissioned former Lai See columnist Nury Vittachi to write a children's book, May Moon and the Secrets of the CPAs and published a book for parents, How to Raise a Money-Wise Kid.

These books have drawn interest from accounting institutes in Europe, the Middle East, Scandinavia and Australia.

Over two years, the institute gave away 10,000 books and organised 64 school visits to reach nearly 20,000 students, including a webcast with a Malaysian school.

When it comes to teaching kids about money matters, sooner is better than later - and it is less embarrassing than telling them about the birds and the bees.

NBA boss in the money

It's not just investment guru Jim Rogers who's panting over the mainland. Punting on mainland stocks is paying off for Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander.

Mr Alexander is reportedly a cornerstone investor for China Railway Group - his third disclosable China listed investment - along with local investment heavyweights such as Henderson Land Development's Lee Shau-kee, Sun Hung Kai Properties' Kwok brothers and Wharf Holdings' Peter Woo Kwong-ching.

Through his private company, Grahamstowe Investments, Mr Alexander subscribed for HK$118 million worth of Xinjiang Xinxin Mining Industry and HK$234 million of Anta Sports Products.

After less than two months, he is sitting on hefty paper gains - Xinjiang has surged 68 per cent since listing and Anta 108 per cent.

Do not be surprised to see him lining up for a third helping.

Putting money on 5pc pay rise

Blame Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah for opening a can of worms.

Macau civil servants will get a 7.2 per cent salary rise, which begs the question: what about Hong Kong workers?

The question was posed yesterday to Sino Land chairman Robert Ng Chee-siong, who suggested Hongkongers should get an average pay rise of 5 per cent.

His reasoning is that the mass residential property market is up 10 per cent but pay rises have averaged only 5 per cent - so we need 5 per cent to catch up.

Coincidentally, a Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce survey found that half of its members plan to offer a 5 per cent salary increase. Actions speak louder than words. In the words of Jerry Maguire: 'Show me the money.'

Tencent looks a million dollars

Despite its modest title, Tencent Holdings' market cap now stands at more than HK$100 billion.

As such, the fast-growing internet company known for its instant messaging service QQ is proposing a one-to-five split, changing its minimum lot to 200 shares from 1,000 shares.

Given that Tencent last traded at HK$56.90, after the split it will probably be closer to Tendollars than Tencent, but we expect it to leave its name unchanged.