Lai See
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 12:32am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 12:32am

2013 was a good year for HKEx's Charles Li

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.
 

Although there was some disappointment in the market at HKEx's 11 per cent rise in net profits, the company's chief executive Charles Li Xiaojia is unlikely to have been unduly distressed by the 55 per increase in his total remuneration for the year.

According to the company's annual remuneration report released on Wednesday, Li's 2013 package amounted to HK$38.3 million, compared with HK$24.6 million for 2012.

This comprised a basic salary of HK$8.7 million, a cash bonus of HK$9.4 million, retirement and other benefits of HK$1.3 million, which together total HK$19.3 million. On top of this he received a share award benefit valued at HK$18.9 million.

Last year his remuneration included a basic salary of HK$7.6 million, a cash bonus of HK$6.6 million, retirement and other benefits of HK$1 million, totalling HK$15.3 million. He was awarded shares valued at HK$9.2 million.

The big jump in his total compensation is largely explained by the 105 per cent increase in performance-related share award for 2013.

His cash bonus was 23 per cent higher in 2013, while his basic salary rose by a not so unlucky 13 per cent. Altogether, it would be hard to call this ungenerous.

He nevertheless receives less than his counterparts elsewhere. According to Financial News, Nasdaq OMX chief Bob Greifeld received US$8.9 million (HK$69 million) altogether in 2012, while NYSE Euronext chief executive Duncan Niederauer received a total of US$8.85 million.

Jeff Sprecher, chief of IntercontinentalExchange, which acquired NYSE Euronext last year, took home US$7.4 million in 2012. Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the LSE Group, was handed £2.4 million (HK$31 million) in salary, bonus and other benefits, in addition to performance-related shares valued at £1.35 million in 2012.

 

A woman's place

The ever-dynamic Women's Foundation has unveiled another report on the condition of women. This time it commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit to prepare the report which is entitled Work To Do - Women in male dominated industries in Hong Kong. The report examines the status of women in four traditionally male-dominated sectors; logistics and transport, technology, trading and hedge funds, and one we found surprising, luxury. Luxury you would have thought would be one area where women would excel. But apparently not.

While women are the major consumers of luxury brands, with LVMH reporting that they account for 85 per cent of its customers, they account for only 11 per cent of its board members and 28 per cent of its senior management. The figures are similar for the other leading luxury groups: L'Oréal, Richemont and Gucci Group (now owned by Kering).

Although higher than average numbers of women are attracted into the industry, it has difficulty in retaining them to management level. The biggest issue is work-life balance. The amount of after-hours duties and travel required in senior positions makes it difficult to juggle work and family life.

Another discouraging factor is cultural, with senior executives within the big European luxury houses tending to be dominated by men and it can be difficult for women to fit in.

The report quotes Joanne Ooi, chief executive and co-founder of Plukka, an e-commerce business focusing on designer jewellery, and previously employed at Shanghai Tang. "If you are accustomed to gender equality in the workplace, the world of luxury can be very, very harsh."

The report concludes that effecting change will be difficult. One important step is that companies need to be aware of the benefits of diversity.

 

Hedge funds galore

George Soros has topped the Forbes annual list of The Highest Earning Hedge Fund Managers and Traders, with earnings of US$4 billion. Although he is not involved in the day-to-day operations of Soros FM, the big short bet on the yen at the beginning of 2013 was "vintage Soros", according to Forbes.

Second was David Tepper with US$3.5 billion, and perhaps surprising, given his legal problems, was Steve Cohen with US$2.3 billion. John Paulson with US$1.9 billion was fourth in what Forbes calls "the biggest comeback ever" after three rough years.

 

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

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