there's no time like anytime to ask the banker for stock tips
How financially geared are Hong Kong people? Just ask Michael Smith (below) - he has a lot to tell.
The chief executive of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp recently went to Matilda International Hospital for a regular check-up and was asked by the nurse during his blood test if it was the right time to buy some HSBC shares.
Even in that awkward situation, the prudent man remembered the listing rule book and replied kindly. 'Please watch out for what you are doing,' he recalled his conversation with the nurse to some reporters and looked at his arm. 'Don't take more than what is needed.'
This was the second time Mr Smith was tapped for stock tips in a year. In June last year, he and former chairman John Bond were waiting outside Mandarin Oriental for his car when a passing cabbie asked if HSBC associate Bank of Communications' IPO was a good buy.
Don't you just love the financial centre that is Hong Kong, where people care the most about stock prices?
elsewhere, football beats stocks
While Hong Kong is all about stocks, South America is all about football.
The once HSBC Argentina chief executive recalled that the banking outlet had to fix televisions in every room or his staff 'simply will not turn up for work'. This very South American corporate culture is not played out here, World Cup or not.The British executive is not saying which team he is rooting for but his heart is with the French, who faced possible elimination today (3am).
In France on a business trip on Wednesday, he had witnessed with disappointment Les Bleus held to a draw by the South Koreans.
the man's home is his castle
Only in Hong Kong would the richest man find his house too small to live in.
Li Ka-shing recently won the Buildings Department's approval to build an upper floor at his Deep Water Bay Road home.
Mr Li has been heard complaining that he has not enough room for his books.
But perhaps the real reason is he wants more room with his grandson's arrival two months ago.
The Li mansion, with a floor space of 8,830 square feet, will be fit for a family of seven, including son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi and his wife Cynthia and four grandchildren.
bringing up father
Talking about Mr Li, he was reported to be off to Beijing shortly to mend fences with the powers that be over Richard Li Tzar-kai, who was believed to have upset some Chinese leaders over the possible sale of PCCW assets.
Mr Li appeared to have failed to persuade his son to take a more moderate course, at least two Chinese newspapers reported.
A third newspaper caught Mr Li on his way to his morning golf and quoted him as saying - regarding reports about PCCW: 'I don't believe in everything and I don't want to say anything.'
Sigh, rich dad, poor dad!
pccw keeps its cool
As the media frenzy boils over the bid for PCCW, the company is pouring cold water on the hot news.
Its anti-climactic stock exchange announcement reads: 'The company has and will continue to use its utmost best efforts to ensure that no information relating to either expression of interest is released other than through 1) formal announcements or 2) press statements which do more in substance than repeat the contents of such formal announcements.'
PCCW fell 4.34 per cent yesterday and ended the frenetic week at $5.50.
Economy of Hong Kong
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
Pacific Century Group