• Sun
  • Aug 24, 2014
  • Updated: 12:41am
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 5:26am

Should fund managers be entrusted with your pension?

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.
 

It is interesting to see that you would have done better putting your retirement funds in the Tracker Fund which is a passive fund that replicates the performance of the Hang Seng Index, rather than in any of the so-called mandatory provident funds. Over the past 12 years the Tracker Fund has gained 75 per cent compared with MPF funds which have increased by an average of 16.75 per cent, according to Apple Daily.

That is a stunning statistic since the MPF funds are managed by highly paid fund managers who charge high fees because we are supposedly benefiting from their expertise. Not only have they underperformed a fund with no management but we are being charged for the privilege. The MPF has been money for jam for the fund management industry for too long. There must be a better way. Monkeys throwing darts at a dartboard?

Love and Lunch Actually

Earlier this week we observed that the new premium dating service being offered by Lunch Actually sounded like a gold digger's paradise. But having listened to CEO and founder Violet Lim discuss Lunch Actually Platinum we have adjusted our thinking on this. Lunch Actually is basically a lunch dating service in which people sign up and pay between HK$5,000 to HK$10,000 and then existing members meet for lunch.

The Platinum service comes in three packages - HK$20,000 for three months, HK$60,000 which lasts for six months, and HK$120,000 for 18 months. Lim says this premium service was launched because existing clients wanted something more specialised. Rather than existing clients meeting, the agency will go out and head hunt a partner.

For those paying for the top two packages, the agency will conduct an inter-city search between Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, where Lunch Actually has offices.

"Clients can expect first-class service akin to private wealth banking, where the matchmaker is like a private banker who has expertise in the dating needs of wealthy, single clients, managing their dating requirements by headhunting and handpicking suitable matches," says Lim, who previously worked for Citibank.

The service is aimed at busy high-net-worth professionals with net assets of at least US$1 million. Somehow the process doesn't sound as much fun as the more conventional trial and error approach most of us go through, admittedly with mixed results. We're not sure that we're looking for "a complete, integrated dating solution", but those in the market can check out Lim at www.violetlim.com or buy her best selling dating book, Lessons from 15,000 First Dates.

Greens dig in over third runway

Hong Kong's green groups are playing hardball with the Airport Authority Hong Kong over efforts to get them to attend a Green NGO roundtable meeting with the AAHK to discuss environmental aspects of the proposed third runway. The airport authority, which is endeavouring to become the world's greenest airport, is desperate to get the green groups onside.

However, a meeting scheduled for Tuesday has had to be postponed until next month following concerns expressed by eight green groups in a letter to the AAHK.

Their letter points to a "divergence of opinion" with deputy director Kevin Poole and others over what components should be included in a proposed social return on investment (SROI) study. The signatories have included the elements they want to see included and say: "We feel that it is essential to have your agreement on these fundamentals ahead of the roundtable meeting to ensure that we are all on the same page regarding the fundamental scope of such a study..."

The AAHK was initially opposed to such a study and even when the Legco environmental affairs panel called for it to be conducted together with a carbon audit, it maintained a deafening silence. However, since the green groups have dug their heels in on this, and the AAHK wants them onside to sustain its green credentials, it is reluctantly getting dragged into agreeing to do one.

An SROI conducted for the third runway at London's Heathrow airport concluded that Britain would be £5 billion (HK$62.6 billion) worse off if it was built, and contributed to the decision not to proceed with it.

Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com

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