CHIM Pui-chung, visionary and Legislative Councillor, was recently quoted in the Chinese-language press as saying that a large slice of the Central reclamation had been set aside for a building for the Stock, Futures and Chinese Gold and Silver Exchanges. The Government, he said, had agreed to pay for the lot. Lai See hears a slightly different version of the story. We understand that a large slice has been set aside by the Government, but it is to be a government finance tower - a Central Central Bank. The scheme under consideration is to rehouse in the new building all of the government and quasi-governmental departments connected with cash or financial regulation, thus ensuring a harbour view for Donald Tsang Yam-kuen or whoever gets to sit in the Financial Secretary's office post-1997. Donald is so keen on the office he is now in that when Sir Hamish Macleod went away on visits he used to sneak in to use it, sticking a sign on the door saying 'Acting FS'. But we reckon he would like a proper Exchange Square-style harbour view much better than eyeing the corner of the Hongkong Bank. There are two things holding the project back. One is the approval of China, and we do not know if the idea has even been floated at the Joint Liaison Group. The other is the little matter of the huge wad of dosh that could be raised by not keeping the building for civil servants. The finance boys and girls will understandably be gung ho to the power N+1 about the plan. They could probably argue that freeing up space in different buildings could allow further consolidation and the possibility of eventually selling other land. Considering that Hong Kong's fiscal reserves are among the largest in the world it is rather odd that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, a de facto central bank, does not have a shiny building of its own. And how must the authority's chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong feel about being based in a building named after a United States bank. And wouldn't China love to complete such a prestigious project shortly after the handover? As for Mr Chim's plan, perhaps the exchange can rent or buy space if it sells its other properties. In any case, the stock exchange will not be needing a trading floor at all very soon. Why else are the brokers calling the introduction of the second terminal 'moving upstairs'? Sedan heroes CLIFFORD Chance's Matilda sedan chair runners are feeling jolly pleased with themselves. Not only did they raise $275,000 but they acquitted themselves rather well in the race. The cops won this year, beating the army in to second place. The Hongkong Bank team came in third, but the team from Clifford Chance was muttering that this lot looked like the army B team. The main thing was, Clifford Chance lawyers were the fastest in Hong Kong. Jamie Gibson reckons the real heroes are the teams from NatWest Markets, who chipped in $50,000, and Sino Land, who joined the syndicate too late to get their names in lights on the tombstone that ought to be in the paper today. Heavy hand LOOKS like Li Ka-shing is branching out, or near enough. But the debt collectors above are nothing to do with the similarly named property developer. 'Should you have any conflict between debted, closed and removed company which cannot be contacted, we will totally manipulate this,' they say. How very kind of them. Too fluid ONE of the subjects likely to come up for discussion at the Asian Venture Forum from November 12 to 14 is the distinct lack of venturing by the venture capitalists. Yes, yes, huge funds are being raised and huge investments are being made, but the fact remains that gigantic amounts of cash are floating around looking for homes. In the first six months of this year, more private equity was raised in Asia than in the whole of last year, according to Dan Schwartz, publisher of the Asian Venture Capital Journal and conference organiser. Indeed, chrome-domed value investor Mark Mobius is at least 25 per cent cash in three of his biggest funds and also has huge holdings in the Hong Kong market. Outsiders claimed even larger piles of cash in major Mobius vehicles. The problem for the venturers is the lack of legal frameworks or quality deals in which to invest. Lai See's worry is that the good doctor Mobius will be rushing through some Third World airport when his suitcase will explode, sprinkling surplus cash all over Asia. Harvest time WE hope everyone noticed how much cash went in to the Sun Sun Chan Leveraged Forex and Gold Fund in August (see yesterday's Sunday Money). Most investors would probably guess the correct answer of zero anyway. The fund, launched amid much hoo ha in 1991, collapsed in price very soon after. Now, from a low of 86 cents on May 31 this year, the fund has soared to above $2. The fund was making Hay, Hay, Hay, although we thought all the currency turmoil was sort of ending in May, not starting, so the performance is a bit mystifying. If anyone managed to buy in at below $1 and make big profits, we'd like to hear from him. Then we can be the first reporter in town to have a good news story about the fund - which Mr Chan actually apologised for earlier this year when he was running for the chairman's seat of the futures exchange.