Synchronisation seems to be the word of the moment in the Special Administrative Region. HSBC bankers started the trend on Monday, by all wearing the same ties to the group's various results briefings. Now two of Hong Kong's prestige international newspapers have unwittingly got in on the act. The Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune have been giving away vast quantities of their papers this week. No one has been safe in the mother of all paper chases - as representatives struggled to find enough unsuspecting victims to give their rags away to around Central. Was this all the start of an international prestige newspaper war? Well no, it all seems to be a coincidence. The Tribune's Asia-Pacific managing director, Terry Daimer, tells us relations between the two parties are entirely cordial, with the two papers not aiming at identical markets. 'My opposite number at the Financial Times gave me a call on Friday when she found out this was going to happen,' he said. 'It does rather dilute our respective marketing efforts, but there was nothing we could do.' Whatever could be next? Synchronised newspaper reading? Investment Funds Association chairman Peter Lord did his best to put a brave face on the outlook for Hong Kong's funds management industry during a press briefing yesterday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. He told the audience he remained 'extremely bullish' about the industry's prospects. However, his spiel was not exactly helped by some unwelcome accompaniment during the session. Every time he seemed to be making a positive point, haunting music would come on to thwart him. After several interruptions, Mr Lord was making a point about the resilience of funds management. 'Our industry suffers less from volume declines. We benefit from . . .' At this stage, the tune came on yet again. '. . . piped music,' he continued between gritted teeth. Monday's HSBC press briefing was notable for more than just the company's profit results and Sir Willie Purves's rumblings. It was also the last time Michael Broadbent, HSBC's head of public affairs for Asia, acted as head Hong Kong spin doctor for the results. He finishes up in his role on Friday, to take the headline public affairs role in the office of parent company HSBC Holdings Plc in London. What is interesting about the move is the rapidity of Mr Broadbent's transition to his new role. Not for him a lengthy holiday in exotic locations like the Bahamas. He will go into work as normal on Friday, jet out of the SAR that night, then start his new role the next Monday. Some might think this schedule overly taxing, but not Mr Broadbent. 'I'm getting a weekend off - that's almost a sabbatical in the HSBC group,' he said. The move will be a transition in more ways than one for Mr Broadbent. He is at present ensconced in an impressive residence on the Peak, but will now swap it all for the rather less heady existence in the house he owns in London's leafy Holland Park. One advantage of the new location will be its proximity to public transport. His house is within walking distance of London's famous - some would say infamous - underground train network. Was he relishing the new prospect of taking the 'tube' to work, we asked him? 'I'm told it has a charm all of its own,' he smirked. Your correspondent enjoyed a brief encounter with the lifestyles of the rich and famous yesterday, hobnobbing with the well-connected and just plain wealthy clientele of the Hong Kong Club. The usual array of politicians, and past and present public servants, were out in force - among them the inaugural Securities and Futures Commission chief Robert Owen, provisional legislature president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai and Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Michael Suen Ming-yeung. But it was one particular business catch-up across the tables of lobster sashimi and other such delicacies that caught our attention. We could swear we spotted Francis Yuen Tin-fan, the deputy chairman of Richard Li Tzar-kai's Pacific Century Group, having a nosh-up with Peter Wong - the chief financial officer of Peregrine until recent events took over. Could there be the odd vacancy at Mr Li's company for a former Peregrine number cruncher - or was it merely a casual bite between friends?