It is an interesting day in Hong Kong's financial history when fund managers get the hat out for a bit of a whip-round. Before you pass out, you should know that philanthropy is not on the agenda. A dramatic memo is instead doing the rounds seeking US$10 million of additional funds to continue management of the AXA Asian Absolute Fund. The e-mail with the investment note warns of 'potentially tragic news' to those who read on. It caught our attention. Help is being sought to continue managing the fund. All 'uncompromising' and 'ethical' business proposals will be considered. Manager Andrew Alexander was reluctant to talk, but AXA Rosenberg chief executive Tony Archer filled in some of the gaps. Toward the end of last year, the firm's investment process was overhauled, and it was decided that Mr Alexander's operation no longer fitted in with the grand plan. He was encouraged to seek an alternative sponsor and was wished the best of luck. The AXA name will come off the fund at the end of the month. In the meantime, investors are being asked to dig deep into their pockets. 'All we need now is the right new partner,' the investment note stresses. And US$10 million. But then again, doesn't most of Hong Kong? SOUR-TONGUED TACT Goldman Sachs' chairman and chief executive is glib and insensitive. Henry Paulson says so himself. It seems his blunt approach to further staff 'restructuring' at the investment bank has not been going down a storm. The chairman made some offending comments at an investment conference in New York late last week that filtered through to the proletariat over the weekend. According to The New York Times, Mr Paulson was answering a question on the possibility of further layoffs: 'I don't want to sound heartless [but] in almost every one of our businesses, there are 15 or 20 per cent of the people that really add 80 per cent of the value.' Mr Paulson went on to say that if market conditions worsened, 'we will take more people out' of the firm. Goldman eliminated 2,900 jobs, or about 13 per cent of its staff, last year. He finished by saying: 'I think we can cut a fair amount and not get into muscle and still be very well positioned for the upturn.' We always thought Goldman was too touchey-feeley for its own good. All that talk about being in it together and working as a team. The treacle-tongued Mr Paulson, however, has realised his comments were perhaps not as sensitive as he had hoped. He has apologised to all the firm's staff in a global voice-mail message. A heart of Goldman. FUND RUNS OUT OF LUCK Superstitious types will be distressed to hear that the Eifuku Master Fund which collapsed last month translates from the Japanese as good fortune or prosperity. Among those lamenting the demise of the US$300 million hedge fund is billionaire investor George Soros, although the exact extent of his losses are unclear. Investors just didn't seem to see the implosion coming. Perhaps Eifuku just ran out of luck. Proof if ever that there is nothing in a name. Unless you take it phonetically, of course. PENSION DODGERS PAY UP Anyone stepping into the small claims court yesterday was in for a hair-raising hearing. The Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Schemes Authority was hot on the heels of employers - including Century Group, which trades as Jacques Dessange. It conceded to the claim and shelled out HK$36,000-odd owed to workers. A cautionary tale to all bosses who attempt to take a short-cut on pensions. No doubt many a hair was out of place at the thought of facing court. An unpleasant, frustrating experience it can often be. Jacques Dessange was in good company, however. Also bundled into the MPF claim list that day was Best Charm Enterprises. It trades under the amiable name of the Fook Hing Hot-Pot Seafood Restaurant.