Lai See
PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 August, 2012, 3:44am

CLSA takes on Mike Tyson at investor forum

BIO

Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.
 

CLSA takes on Mike Tyson at investor forum

Stockbroker CLSA has always prided itself on punching above its weight. So it comes as no surprise that it has picked former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson as this year's celeb at its annual investor's forum. Clearly he's a bit different from the likes of Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin and George Clooney, who have graced the forum previously.

Tyson will appear at a September 12 lunch, where he'll talk to the firm's clients about his life before and after boxing; his time in juvenile detention and prison; his faith; his sobriety; his family; and his acting career, including his recent one-man show on Broadway.

CLSA says: "Tenacious, talented, and thrilling to watch, Tyson embodies the grit and electrifying excitement of the sport." That may be so, though other aspects of his life have been less edifying. A critic at The New Yorker commented after watching his Broadway show: "His life has always been a one-man show."

For those looking for something a little more cerebral than "Iron Mike", there are about 40 other keynote and specialist speakers at the forum.

A sporting solution

We hear of more Buildings Department nonsense. The Hong Kong Sports Institute near Sha Tin has built a smart new shed to store its boats, or "shells", as they are referred to.

The architect designed a floor with a big slope on it so the water drains away from the boats and into the drain outside the building.

Since the building is used by people, it requires an occupation permit to ensure it meets fire and safety regulations. So along come the Buildings Department to inspect. "Aha, there is a rule that says you are required to have a 150 millimetre step between the pavement and the building." The aim of this kerb is to stop water from getting into the building and the rule was designed to stop property owners making claims against the government when the floors of their buildings got wet.

It was designed for office buildings and office lobbies, not boat sheds. The boat shed was designed to have a wet floor. The effect of this kerb is that water can now not drain away. However the kerb has been built and the shed has its occupation permit. In addition to stopping water from draining away, it serves as a hazard for people to trip over when moving boats in and out of the shed. It's another example of the petty regulation-driven fixations of the Buildings Department, where surveyors are either unwilling or unable to exercise common sense.

Pamela Peck - model candidate

With the September Legislative Council poll fast approaching, candidates have been out on the stump attempting to attract votes. Pamela Peck, once known as the "Queen of late-night radio" for her on-air relationship advice, has felt obliged to resort to traditional marketing techniques. Rather than swaying voters with her rhetoric, Peck, who's standing as an independent, has taken to electioneering with a team of eye-catching young female models, according to Eastweek magazine.

By all accounts her entourage has caused quite a stir. Such stunts should come as no surprise as Peck is a colourful character, having survived far more than her share of vicissitudes in life, including a three-month spell in prison for tax evasion.

More pain for banks

There's a gloomy piece from Bloomberg that says although the current round of redundancies at investment banks looks fairly drastic, there is more to come. Indeed, banks will be forced to pull out of countries and certain business lines to such an extent that there could only be three to five global investment banks left.

"As investment banks strip their businesses in the face of a poor economy, poor revenue and higher regulatory capital, it's the survival of the very, very fittest," Kevin Burrowes, British head of financial services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told Bloomberg. "We could see just three to five global investment banks."

Steve Hussey, an analyst of financial institutions at AllianceBernstein, was equally bearish. "Some banks need to come out and say we need 30 per cent to 50 per cent fewer people." He added: "The hit has to be more severe than 1,000 people here and there. Second- or third-tier players have to get out of certain businesses and focus on niches - either products or geographies." Yikes.

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