Lai See

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2011, 12:00am

Stifling dress code gives way to 'Attire Spring'

We hear that a collective sigh of relief has swept through that venerable institution, the Hong Kong Club, following a solution to the jacket-and-tie problem. Since its founding in 1846 as the first gentlemen's private club in the city, members have wielded considerable influence. At the same time, in keeping with its establishment culture, it has been somewhat reserved, indeed almost conservative, in terms of its rules governing the manner in which members should to be attired when visiting the club.

Thus, since time immemorial, jackets and ties have been de rigueur. However, some years ago, this rule was relaxed for the summer months and a jacket and tie were no longer required for the members' bar and relaxed to varying degrees in other dining rooms. For the past 18 months, this more relaxed attire was extended while renovation work was carried out.

However, with the work finished, it was decided that as of Monday, jackets and ties would again be required. This ruling apparently did not meet with universal approval, with some members preferring the more relaxed dress code.

And so in what can only be described as something approaching a members' revolt, the club's chairman, Timothy Freshwater, was prevailed upon to break with tradition and end the mandatory wearing of jackets and ties in the members' bar. How cool is that?

Goldman a brand booster?

Russian aluminium company Rusal and Jim O'Neil, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, seem to be unlikely bedfellows. However, they are bedfellows insofar that Rusal persuaded O'Neil to give a public lecture at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on October 16 under the auspices of the UC Rusal President's Forum.

This is a five-year project between the university and Rusal, which involves a speaking programme, student exchanges, and a research scheme to develop an aluminium roofing system. The subtext of the programme is to boost Rusal's somewhat controversial profile - stemming from the firm's origins in the so-called aluminium wars in Russia after the collapse of communism - to say nothing of Rusal chief executive Oleg Deripaska's colourful past.

O'Neil is famous for dreaming up the concept of the BRICS grouping of leading emerging market economies. He will be talking first about 'the changing dynamics of the world' and then be interviewed by HKUST president Tony Chan Fan-cheong. One thing for sure is that it will be a lot more interesting than the first talk in the series last year - it featured Deripaska, which was dreadful.

HOM are they kidding?

A curious flyer has landed in our e-mail inbox. It comes from the folks at HOM, advertising its latest line in men's briefs. HOM inexplicably describes its latest offering as a 'new intellectual comfort solution'. This zone has always been held in special regard by men, some would say, often to their detriment. In no way could the activities associated with this zone be regarded as intellectual, except by only the most preposterously pretentious.

Indeed, this area probably represents the direct antithesis of intellectual activity. None of this seems to have occurred to HOM, which says: 'The new collection of HO1 belongs to the intellectual gentleman ... the F/W collection of black-white-grey colours also carries your charisma inside out.'

Bizarrely, the Hong Kong Automobile Association appears to be quite taken with all this nonsense and is offering its members a 15 per cent discount for this 'comfort solution'. It's all bollocks to us.

For Nick Leeson, crime does pay

The wheel of fortune is a curious thing. There have not been many winners from the recent UBS 'rogue trader' scandal, but Nick Leeson is one, The Independent writes. The man, whose unauthorised trading caused Barings Bank's collapse, has been much in demand for his insights into such matters. Insurance Times has signed him up to speak at its Global Leaders Forum. Leeson's billed to speak about risk and regulation, a subject he is familiar with, though more through the breach than the observance.

Citigroup tackles equity sales

Citigroup has achieved a minor coup in signing up former England Rugby World Cup star Josh Lewsey as a European equities salesman. He follows other rugby players to join finance firms including French international Thomas Castaignede, who moved to UBS in 2006. Maybe Lewsey will help keep Citigroup's eye on the ball.

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