Oil and gas companies seeking a presence in the Asia-Pacific region prefer to list their stocks on the Singapore Exchange rather than on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to Alastair Macaulay, a partner at global law firm Clifford Chance.
Speaking to the Business Times, he said Singapore was preferred because it was more of an international hub compared to Hong Kong, which is more China-focused. So is this yet another "threat" Hong Kong should be concerned about?
It is true that Singapore has recently drafted new oil and gas listing rules and regulations and appears to be trying to attract oil and gas companies. But before throwing up our hands in despair, it is worth remembering that Hong Kong does have the world's largest producer of oil listed here in PetroChina. The company produced more liquids last year than Exxon - so we are still "bigger" than Singapore.
Nice work, if you can get it
The Civil Service Bureau says it has received about 75,000 applications for civil service vacancies, according to Apple Daily. Some 17,000 of them were vying for the post of administrative officer. However, because only 35 such posts are available this year, that means 485 applicants are competing for one position - the largest number of applicants for the post since 2005.
A personnel consultant said more people had applied for government posts this year because of a worsening economy. This may go some way to stiffening government resolve in standing up to the Civil Service, which has been moaning about what it claims is a low pay rise. Compared with the private sector, and taking into account salaries plus allowances, the civil service does very nicely.
"Companies are waking up to the fact that to retain skilled women in the workforce, they need to offer more than good compensation packages. Flexible working and part-time or job-share opportunities are the tip of the iceberg."
So says Pallavi Anand, a director of Robert Half in Hong Kong, commenting on a recent study undertaken by the firm.
She went on to say: "Our survey also shows Hong Kong companies have or are planning to introduce: onsite childcare services, family health and dental plans, and telecommuting - to hold on to valuable female employees."
The survey, which included responses from 100 human resources directors in Hong Kong, found that three out of four (74 per cent) of those polled said it was common for female employees to move into part-time and/or flexible working roles on their return from maternity leave.
Robert Half concluded that: "The trend for flexible working conditions seems to be taking off in Hong Kong as it is globally because of the shift to try to encourage women into more senior positions and on executive boards whilst being able to maintain a healthy work/life balance."
Now what about the men?
ICM raises HK$11.4m at banquet
Hats off to the charity International Care Ministries (ICM), which raised a stunning HK$11.4 million at its Hong Kong annual banquet earlier this week, an increase of 17 per cent over last year. The charity focuses on helping the poor in the Philippines. The country has a population of 92 million, of which 26 million (28 per cent) live in poverty on less than US$1.22 per day. Of these, 8 million (9 per cent) live in ultra poverty, on less that 50 US cents per day. According to Unesco, there are 1 million Filipino children aged between six and 11 who are unable to attend school. These are the people who ICM targets. They are the ones who do not have enough food to feed their families, who are without adequate shelter and cannot afford medicine for their sick children. David Sutherland, the former chief financial officer for Morgan Stanley Asia and chairman of the ICM board, described the collection as "an extraordinary down payment on ICM's need to fund its HK$30 million cash budget during the current fiscal year", and will enable ICM to reach 62,000 people. The charity banquet also featured a live auction, which was enlivened by the energetic performance of master auctioneer Kristine Duininck, who in 2010 won the women's National Auctioneers Association International Auctioneer Championship.
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