Singing bankers hit a new high note

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 December, 2011, 12:00am


Staff at Morgan Stanley have raised an impressive HK$2.45 million for Operation Santa Claus, setting a new record for the largest single donation to the holiday fund-raising campaign, now in its 24th year.

'This is a record year. We are very proud with the amount our employees have raised this year,' Bill Strong, co-CEO of Morgan Stanley Asia-Pacific, said. 'This is our biggest employee-driven event in Hong Kong and a tradition at Morgan Stanley.'

Motivated by the chance to put their bosses on stage to sing Christmas carols in public, the bank's staff raised the amount in just a week.

The joint effort saw some 70 senior executives form the Morgan Stanley Directors Choir to sing classic Christmas songs, including Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, at the atrium of the Elements shopping mall in West Kowloon. They were joined for their performance by some of their children and 30 youngsters from the Society for the Protection of Children.

The performance attracted not only family and friends of the singers but also Christmas shoppers.

Strong, the choir leader, said this once-a-year performance by senior executives for Operation Santa Claus had taken on a life of its own as it entered its ninth year.

Each senior executive must earn the right to sing by persuading colleagues to pledge at least HK$2,500.

The bank has been a major donor to Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity appeal jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, for 15 years.

Since its creation in 1988, Operation Santa Claus has supported more than 100 charities. Money raised this year will go to 16 charities that provide assistance to needy people in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

The bank raised money through an internal website, where staff pledged money.

'There is a strong emotional tide for this event. It has taken on a life of its own, driven partly by an internal competition to pledge for senior executives to sing on stage,' Strong said. 'We are believers in giving back to the community, so even though we aren't great singers, for a good cause like Operation Santa Claus our employees are willing to come out and perform in public.'

He said the annual appeal was a very efficient way for the bank to contribute to the community.

'Operation Santa Claus is a very respected cause with its long history ... and it's getting bigger and bigger each year. Globally, children's health is a core philanthropic theme for Morgan Stanley, and Operation Santa Claus is a natural fit,' Strong said.

How you can give

Donate online by credit card at

Donations can be made at ATMs or at any branch of HSBC: account number 502-676299-001 for SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS

You can make a donation by cheque, payable to 'SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS' and mail to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories, Hong Kong

Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt with your name, address and phone number to the address above.

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