Bankers get dressed up for charity

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 December, 2011, 12:00am


The banking industry faced a challenging year, but that did not stop UBS trading floor staff pausing to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and doing their bit to help those facing more pressing hardships in Hong Kong.

When the markets closed on Friday, the staff on the trading floor joined forces with their clients to don fancy dress, play games and let their hair down, while raising HK$1.6 million for Operation Santa Claus.

Rebecca Thomas, UBS director of direct execution sales in Hong Kong, came up with the idea only a week ago and ran it by C.J. Beshke, head of Asia equities, who gave it the go-ahead.

Staff formed teams, thought up a game and then had to dress up. For example, one team dressed up as police to collect fines from staff who did not dress up. Beshke sported a cowboy costume, while Thomas came as an athletics champion.

For those who could not attend the post-work fun, during the day there were card games and sports quizzes - all staff members contributed money to play and some was returned as winnings. They even guessed the closing level of the Hang Seng Index. Collection boxes were placed around the office.

Thomas said: 'This collective effort is a way we can make a difference, and hopefully we can make this an annual event.' She said that throughout the day, clients visited the trading floor to make donations, and a portion of the clients' commission also went towards OSC.

David Boyd-Thomas, regional head of corporate social responsibility at UBS, said: 'We know many of our clients are generous, and we've just had a unanimously positive response from them.

'It's been a difficult year for all in the financial industry, but this is the least the firm could do to make an investment in Hong Kong at this time of year.

'Of course, this is just one day out of 365 in the year. The firm actually supports six organisations on a year-round basis both financially and through our staff volunteering.'

The organisations are the Hong Kong Society of Rehabilitation, Youth Outreach, The Council for Early Childhood Education, WWF Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Olympics and Po Leung Kuk.

Jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, Operation Santa Claus has supported more than 100 charities since it was founded in 1988. This year, it will raise money for 16 Hong Kong charities.

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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