Lai See

Annells' companies sued by law firm

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2014, 3:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2014, 3:12am

Annells' companies sued by law firm

Stephenson Harwood, a firm of solicitors which had acted for AzureTax and AzureTrustees, is suing the two companies in the High Court for HK$1.4 million for fees and legal services. It is also seeking interest on this sum from the date of the writ and costs.

The companies were founded by tax consultant Deborah Annells and she was their chief executive. They specialised in arranging the tax affairs of expatriates.

However, Annells is remanded in jail and faces 55 counts of theft and fraud involving more than HK$36 million. She has also been charged with doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice. This relates to using a false document to obtain a variation of bail at a court hearing on April 11. Annells has applied for legal aid and her assets are being assessed to see if she is eligible. She is due to appear in court on August 15.


A breath of fresh air

The air in Singapore seems to be suiting Alex Turnbull better than the air in Hong Kong. The son of Australian politician Malcolm Turnbull, he was an investment banker with Goldman Sachs for six years in Hong Kong until he decided he couldn't stand the dirty air any longer and asked Goldman to transfer him to Singapore. He left in February 2012.

Hong Kong's air aggravated the asthma he developed as a child. Also, he was a rower and within a week of coming to Hong Kong his times had deteriorated. He felt so strongly about the poor air quality that he donated a high-quality HK$47,000 mobile DustTrak to Hong Kong's Clear the Air group.

In 2012, the Hong Kong government was trying to pretend the city did not have an air-quality problem. But Turnbull had been struck by the difference made by the US embassy in Beijing when it installed a device for measuring the air quality on its roof and started publishing the results on its website. The popular indignation at the disparity between official air-quality figures provided by the government and those of the US embassy went some way towards pushing the central government to announce tighter air quality objectives.

This indirectly forced Hong Kong's former secretary for the environment, Edward Yau Tang-wah, into bringing forward plans for improving the city's air-quality targets, not that he did much to meet them. Turnbull continued to work with Goldman until recently. He has left to start his own hedge fund, Keshik Capital. Turnbull is chief investment officer, and he told Lai See the fund would be launching in January.


Singapore considers

Singapore's Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) came into effect last week. This is likely to have the biggest impact on foreign junior finance professionals looking to work in Singapore, the website reports.

The FCF aims to encourage employers to hire more local staff and was triggered by concerns there were too many expatriates in town that were stealing jobs from the locals.

Employers are now required to advertise new jobs on a government-run website for at least 14 days before they can apply for an "employment pass" for a foreign candidate, the website reports.

This is not required for jobs that pay S$144,000 (HK$894,900) or more a year as well as to jobs in firms with 25 or fewer employees. Most analysts and associate banking jobs fall under this threshold in Singapore.

"These days, at a junior level, banks will only consider Singaporeans; the majority of employment pass applications for junior foreigners will be questioned," one recruiter told eFinancialCareers.


Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to