We all know what "yummy" means, but "Rise of the Yummy?" This is the title for a research report by HSBC about the luxury goods sector. This, according to HSBC, is being driven by young urban males - geddit? At the risk of being a tad pedantic we can see that gives us yum. We suppose that we are invited to make the jump to yummy in the same way that young urban professional became yuppy in the 1980s. But that was a new word and it worked. The word yummy already exists and denotes delicious. So we don't think this is going to catch on like yuppie or BRICs. Fortunately the authors went for young urban and male rather than young urban and female, as in yuffy. But hey, this is probably too much semantic quibbling.
Finance industry awards night raises HK$5.5 million for charity
Why was BNP Paribas' Miles Remington seen wearing a pink dress on Thursday evening? His day job is head of equities at the firm's Jakarta office, but on this occasion he was compering the FABBAs, otherwise known as the Fund Managers, Asian Bankers and Brokers Awards - the finance industry's equivalent of the spoof film awards, the "Razzies". Now in its 12th year, it's when the financial community takes a break from making money for itself and makes it for charity. This year it raised about HK$5.5 million, which brings the total raised for charity since its inception to about HK$64 million. The event is the biggest single donor to the Operation Smile and Crossroads charities.
As for the awards, the only "serious" one of the evening - the lifetime achievement award for services to the industry - otherwise known as The Golden Telephone Award, went to Allan Murray, chairman of Hong Kong equity broking at JP Morgan. Murray is a legendary figure in stockbroking circles having been here for decades. In addition to his attributes as a broker, he is renowned for his lunches and dinners, which are frequently punctuated by his hearty guffaws. Indeed he is often heard before he is seen.
Other awards of interest include the Masters of Language. The two contenders for that included a piece on the China white spirits sector: "Our non-consensus view is that we are not as bullish as some brokers, and not as bearish as others and so we maintain our neutral call." And another gem, on Japanese equities investment strategy, which observed: "We think the outlook for the Japanese stock market might vary quite substantially depending on whether or not share prices are able to remain at their current levels."
The Award for Independent Intelligence went to the entire industry for its response to the Cinda IPO. After listing it rose 30 per cent whereupon all the investment banks initiated their coverage of the stock with a buy recommendation. At this point the stock began its decline which didn't stop until it had fallen 30 per cent, resulting in a lot of red faces all round the industry.
Walker's wee team
Independent research house Asianomics continues to expand. At the end of last month it announced two appointments and it has recently announced three more hirings. They are Greg Austin, Andrew Cullin and Winnie Sze, and will extend the group's research distribution capabilities in Asia and North America. "The addition of these industry veterans to our wee yet powerful sales team will allow us to spread our message and ensure that our message has a greater impact," said Jim Walker, founder and chief economist of Asianomics.
In vino veritas
The French Window Brasserie in the IFC Mall has come up with an interesting marketing ploy. It is re-enacting the "Judgment of Paris", a tasting that apparently changed the wine world. In 1976 British wine merchant Steven Spurrier organised two blind tastings conducted by nine French judges of white and red wines from both France and California. Much to the chagrin of the French, a Californian wine rated best in both categories. In piercing the perception that French wine was the best it contributed to the rapid expansion of so-called New World wine production.
The French Window Brasserie is holding a special dinner on April 2 at which guests will be served a blind tasting of two wines with each of the four courses - one from France and one from California. At the end of the dinner, which costs HK$698, the guest with the most correct answers will get a special prize.
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