Franklin Lam Fan-keung

Franklin Lam's nose for a deal leads to a whiff of trouble

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

Formerly a star investment analyst known for his accurate predictions, Franklin Lam was apparently unable to foresee that his political career - or at least the first chapter of it - would be so short.

Lam took leave of absence from the Executive Council last November after coming under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption over allegations that he took advantage of government inside information when selling flats, from which he reportedly made more than HK$10 million.

That was a mere four months after he was appointed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to his quasi-cabinet as an adviser.

Lam was cleared by the ICAC yesterday and the Department of Justice said there was insufficient evidence to press charges. Lam also quit the Executive Council.

Before trying his hand at politics, Lam, UBS' former Hong Kong head of equities, spent 15 years in management roles, having joined the Swiss banking giant in 1997 as its head of regional property.

He was a member of the government think-tank the Central Policy Unit during the Asian financial crisis.

In 2011, he left UBS to set up HKGolden50, a public policy think tank. HKGolden50's report on Hong Kong's "golden five years" of growth caught the eye of Leung, who invited him to join the Exco.

Lam's rise in politics came as a surprise to observers, and even he himself admitted he was a greenhorn in politics.

"I have not even opened the first chapter," Lam told the South China Morning Post last year.

He described himself as a factual person who loved to talk about figures.

Born in Hong Kong in 1961, Lam rarely talked about his personal background.

He is married, with two children. His mother is Mok Sau-hing, a veteran educator.

Over the past decade, he has appeared on the business pages of newspapers as a top investment analyst.

A property super-bull, he reportedly owned about 30 flats at any given time and frequently cashed in on flipping them.

Somewhat ironically, his career as a sharp investor has ended up killing his career in politics.