Now that the roles of the lead players in the Chief Executive drama appear set, it is time for columnists to speculate on who will be the supporting actors in a government headed by Donald Tsang Yam-kuen if he replaces Tung Chee-hwa as expected. While brokers have no doubt Mr Tsang will be the new chief executive, they are divided on who should replace him as chief secretary. One group bets on a comeback of Rafael Hui Si-yan (below), who left the post of secretary for financial services in 2000 to become managing director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority until his retirement two years ago. The theory is simple. Mr Tsang, Mr Hui and Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong are good friends. Labelled a dream team, the trio worked together on the market intervention plan in 1998, spending $118 billion on a stock-buying spree in an attempt to fend off currency speculators. White Collar tried to confirm the rumour but failed to make contact with Mr Hui. He didn't attend the Beethoven concert at the cultural centre last weekend, although we know he handpicked the programmes for the Art Festival. The signs point to a comeback. However, another group of brokers reject such claims, saying Mr Hui is unlikely to abandon his hard-earned life of leisure. Some even said he'd developed a close friendship with Henry Tang Ying-yen in recent years through their shared love of horse racing. As Mr Tang is also a contender for the Chief Executive's job, some brokers said housing head Michael Suen Ming-yeung had more chance of becoming the next chief secretary. Toss a coin! reshuffling the pack It is not clear whether the appointment of a new chief executive will trigger a reshuffle of regulatory heads. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing chief executive Paul Chow Man-yiu - our highest-paid regulator taking home $11 million last year - can breathe easy after a strong performance by the exchange. However, his predecessor Kwong Ki-chi, who was formerly close to Mr Tsang when he worked in the government before joining HKEx in 2000, may return to the civil service. Many legislators have speculated that Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Frederick Ma Si-hang may go with the departure of Mr Tung. Mr Ma, as usual, offered only a smile, and no comment. The only sure bet to depart is Securities and Futures Commission chairman Andrew Sheng, who has said he has no intention of renewing his contract in September and plans to write a book. As a farewell gift, Mr Sheng's last budget earmarked $26 million for bonuses for the commission's 412 staff - an average of 1.4 months each - this financial year and the same amount next year. The commission may also give some selected staff pay rises to retain talent. No wonder he will be missed. Mr Sheng's replacement is not known but Mr Hui was once rumoured to be on the shortlist for the watchdog's top job. It now looks like that role is too minor for him. lunch crunch As for Mr Tsang, the prospect of his appointment as chief executive has some brokers worried they will miss out on the joys of a long lunch. When Mr Tsang was financial secretary, he worked closely with Mr Hui on plans to abolish the minimum brokerage commission and introduce the Securities and Futures Ordinance, which tightens regulation of brokers. Mr Tsang and Mr Hui also orchestrated the merger of the stock exchange and futures exchange and three clearing houses into Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing in 2000, which eliminated broker power in exchange affairs. What worries brokers now is Mr Tsang pushing hard for 24-hour trading. Hong Kong has one of the shortest trading days in the world - from 10am to 12.30pm and 2.30pm to 4pm. This compares with several other leading markets which trade for 10 to 12 hours a day with no break for lunch. HKEx once proposed extending trading from 10am to 6pm without a break but the idea was scrapped on concerns over extra operating costs, broker malnourishment and thinner business for restaurants in Central. If Mr Tsang gets the top job, it's no certainty our broker friends can continue to enjoy a leisurely chat over lunch. It would be more like a bagel on the run. allianz hires kent Stepping up: German insurer Allianz Hong Kong has appointed Philip Kent as chief executive. Mr Kent has 15 years experience in the insurance industry. He joined Allianz Insurance Management Asia Pacific Singapore in 2001.