HAPPY days might be here again, but spare a thought for the S G Warburg crew. While Hong Kong brokers willed share prices up by their sheer weight of enthusiasm, Warburg employees nurtured ulcers. 'They gave it away cheap,' said one fatalistic broker in the Hong Kong office. But how cheap is life in Warburg? Swiss Bank Corp was not exactly what most of the Hong Kong office had hoped for, but things could be worse. SBC has a Rolls-Royce fixed income and currency operation but has hardly registered as an equity market player. In fact, of late, it has been losing people in droves across the region. In any bank merger, information technology and back office staff are the synergy merchants' favourite target, but research bods, economists and investment bankers look likely victims of duplication cuts. Head-hunter calls - which have been coming thick and fast - have been treated nervously at Warburg. Annual bonuses have not been paid, despite being announced some time ago. Even so, corporate loyalty seems to be in short supply.IT would be quite an epitaph: 'The man who broke the Hong Kong dollar peg.' Of course it would take a lotta money and a nicely timed crisis to keep up the selling momentum. Yet few hedge funds rate the idea. Most reckon Hong Kong would just live with sky-high interest rates, whatever the economic damage. So we were interested to hear that one of the territory's more gung-ho fund managers was last week pitching major hedge funds on a short-selling spree against the currency. One of the biggest listened for about 20 minutes; another kicked him out after about five. REMEMBER the last time Hong Kong share prices flew. Barton Biggs toured China for Morgan Stanley, went maximum bullish, then recanted a short while later. He made the comments at the end of September 1993, right at the height of the Sino-British political row. It was at a time when people thought political rows actually mattered to Hong Kong. Fortunes could be made in the stock market by knowing which way the diplomatic talks were going, and, by all accounts, plenty of mainland companies managed to get the inside track on announcements Some of their biggest bets were right before Barton Biggs made his big call. Huge short positions were taken in the over-the-counter markets, but when the market took off 'billions' were said to have been lost. When Morgan Stanley got wind of what happened it apparently offered condolences to the mainland firms, and assured them it had no idea.MORE shake-ups in the world of French banking. Following the government bail-out of Credit Lyonnais, the national leviathan is back on the expansion trail in Asia and apparently looking for new staff. But the French Government's hands-on approach to its troubled banking sector has yet to run its full course. A decision has apparently been made to encourage a merger between Banque Nationale de Paris and Indosuez. Sources said it was likely to be a drawn-out affair lasting up to a year. The merger would leave substantial banking and treasury cross-overs in Asia. WHEN Shigeru Myogin, Salomon Brothers' Asia Pacific chief, announced that he would quit the firm at the end of this year, few bought the excuse of a quiet retirement. Mr Myogin is a Salomon main board director, a congenital trader, and a political animal who usually wins his management battles. It seems he realised what other employees only woke up to later: an era had ended, and the Salomon glory days were over. We hear he is set to join former colleague John Meriwether, who left Salomon after its 1991 bond trading scandal to start Long Term Capital Management, an inappropriately named bond arbitrage hedge fund.