Investors trying to work out which companies in Hong Kong to bet on for the future will not go far wrong by opting for those with the best management. Traditionally, Hong Kong and Asian companies have been dominated by a controlling family. Ownership and management is fused at the board of directors level. A division one of successful families at powerful corporate dynasties in Hong Kong has been formed over the past 20 years. They have, in most cases, emerged either out of the ashes of ailing former colonial corporates, following takeovers, or have been forged out of new ventures in property development using, on many occasions, cash amassed from basic manufacturing enterprises. Most of these companies will appear in the top 50 to 100 companies listed on the stock exchange by market capitalisation. An investor with money in these companies would have been well rewarded over the past 20 years. What institutional investors are keen to look for now is who will be in the Hong Kong corporate super league in five to 10 years' time. Already a super league is forming, being the top 10 stocks in the Hang Seng Index, by market capitalisation. This pack is breaking away from the rest of the market in the amount of profit being generated, the size of annual sales and market capitalisation. Achieving critical mass has enabled these companies to expand overseas and buy up large groups, as HSBC Holdings did with Midland Bank in Britain. It has also enabled these giants to enter projects that corporate tiddlers would not have been up for. This enabled New World Development to go big in mainland China infrastructure. Being bigger than the rest means you can raise more capital in cash calls without denting your share price too much, or hurting minorities through dilution. Citic Pacific, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Cheung Kong and Henderson Land all have done cash calls of more than $3 billion since November. Companies left behind wanting to at least get to within striking distance of the super league ought to consider their strength in depth of management. In many cases it is argued the best thing that could happen to a laggard family corporate would be the employment of a top-notch chief executive officer with the remit to build a strong professional management team. Recommending this remedy, especially when it comes from an expatriate, can trigger all sorts of cultural sensitivities and possibly ruin a good lunch. This does not change a thing. Professional management is professional management whether it is found in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Europe or the United States. Another way of looking at it might be to say it requires the luck of an entrepreneur to make a load of money. To ensure the bladder principle of cash accumulation does not apply to the corporate entity created, a strong management team, combining the luck of many people, needs to be put in place. This is to ensure the cash accumulated does not get wasted on poor investment projects. A company like Hutchison Whampoa has a huge army of professionals running everything from power stations to ports. Even with an army of professional managers there is no doubt in the outside world who really runs the show. It has to be said an army of professional managers can also lead a company astray. Talk to Li Ka-shing, chairman at Hutchison, about Husky Oil in Canada or Rabbit in Britain. Both triggered big provisions of more than $1 billion each in the past. Then again Orange would not have been the success it has turned out to be without a few good executives around. The prowess of Hong Kong's leading businessmen cannot be underestimated in sizing up a deal, getting the best terms and maximising the identified gain. The importance of having professional, trustworthy managers in place who can advise on and execute the deals cannot be underestimated either.