To show how competition has stiffened in the financial services industry, media often relies on a one-dimensional model - quotes from bankers and fund managers. That has become a bit tiresome, so let's take a look from the consumer's side of the fence. For government staff and budget watchers, the week's biggest news has to be the Court of Final Appeal's milestone verdict legitimising last year's cuts in civil servants' salaries. The decision, which saved the government almost $10 billion in repayments to its 160,000 staff, turned out to have implications for - of all people - the fund management industry. Top officials told Money Week that before the court ruling, they had been hounded by fund house sales staff who had sniffed potential payouts of more than $100,000 for some civil servants. rate-based hard sell Kudos to retail banks' marketing staff for their swift reaction to changing economic and market conditions. Earlier this week, Money Week was informed by its card issuer of a 50 per cent increase in his credit limit. A similar request two years ago was rejected without explanation. That isolated offer pales in comparison to the experience of one of our colleagues. In the past few weeks, she has been phoned by at least three banks promoting personal loans, with one sales pitch standing out. Using the latest interest rate increase cycle as the theme, the customer service representative tried to persuade her about the benefit of 'locking up' the low rate before it was too late. 'I'm sure you've read about it in the newspaper, but it is highly likely that interest rates will go even higher in the near future,' the hopeful rep said. He then upped the ante by claiming he had confidential and highly reliable information that senior management at his bank were meeting to discuss an imminent rate rise. That revelation raised Money Week's eyebrows - we heard the opposite in an interview with a senior executive of the bank earlier that day. wedding insurance Hong Kong people are known for splashing out on weddings, with surveys suggesting an average outlay of $150,000. Seeing the business potential, Aon and Aviva Insurance this week co-launched a wedding insurance package, the first of its kind in Hong Kong. The package offers protection for 10 items, including the loss of wedding rings, closure of venue, accidents that cause the bride or bridegroom to miss the wedding and no-shows of photographers. 'Every couple wants a perfect wedding,' said Henry Hui, broker manager at Aviva General Insurance. 'But planning one can be very stressful. With this tailor-made comprehensive cover, couples can focus on their big day without worrying about unforeseen circumstances.' One innovative item is the reimbursement for counselling if one of the couple dies. And while the package offers protection for most material losses, it cannot do anything about a change of heart. So, does the package cover losses from a runaway bride? 'Our package will only offer protection for couples who are willing to commit to each other for the rest of their lives,' explained Mr Hui. tax talks stalemate Yesterday's meeting between legislators and government officials on a profit tax exemption bill for offshore funds made little progress. One of the biggest worries voiced by Article 45 Concern Group legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah is that overseas investors would lose interest in Hong Kong if they are liable to pay profit tax just because they hold meetings in the city. Mr Tong cited fund companies with significant operations in Hong Kong having to hold their meetings in international waters or Macau to avoid being classified as funds 'resident in Hong Kong'.