Would the promise of HK$4,166 per month be enough to get you to plough through hundreds of pages of densely written financial material and attend a weekly meeting to boot? The Hong Kong stock exchange is considering whether to offer a financial reward - a token, admittedly - to the 28 members of its listing committee which approves listing applications and decides on changes to the listing rules. The lawyers, accountants, brokers, fund managers, investment bankers and investor representatives who do the work now receive nothing in return but sources at the exchange say the nomination committee is debating whether to give them a stipend. The sum being tossed around is about HK$50,000 a year - not quite enough to secure the services of a tea lady in today's Hong Kong. White Collar has spoken to some listing committee members who profess not to care about the money since they consider the work a form of public service. But some people feel that even a small payment would create a sense of obligation among the recipients and ensure that the work is taken seriously. Others might take a more mercenary view of the question. After all, getting a wage is the first step towards getting a raise. There is definitely a trend towards paying independent members of committees. For example, members of the former stock exchange council served for free until the exchange became a listed company in 2000; thereafter, they became independent directors entitled to a salary of HK$100,000 a year, since raised to HK$240,000. Stephen Cheung Yan-leung, a professor of economics and finance at City University of Hong Kong, said giving the listing committee members a reasonable sum is a good idea. 'I don't think the listing committee members care much about the money but it would still encourage people to take the time to read the hundreds of pages of documents and to attend the meetings,' he said. Young investment guns While we agree with the principle that it's never too soon to start thinking about investment and financial planning, even White Collar was surprised to hear an expert say that five is the best age to begin. After all, the average Hong Kong five-year-old is just learning to read and hasn't yet been introduced to the multiplication tables. And a stock exchange survey last year found that the typical investor was 42 years old. Still, our podcast guest Philip Neilson, chief executive of financial planning firm The Henley Group, is adamant on the point. He says parents should be teaching their kids the concepts of saving and investment at an early age, discouraging them from spending all of their pocket money on toys and snacks. He has four children of his own who invest in funds with some of the money they earn doing household chores. Mr Neilson, who has 25 years' experience in financial services, arrived in Hong Kong from New Zealand five years ago. He came here, he says, for the sake of his children's education. New Zealand is a distant place where there are more sheep than people. 'I came here for my children as I believe they can gain more experience studying in an international school in Hong Kong. An international city like Hong Kong is more competitive than New Zealand and it will encourage them to do better,' he said. veteran jumps ship Veteran insurance man Mark Wilson has joined American International Assurance as deputy president after spending the previous 18 years with France's AXA, where he rose to be chief executive for Hong Kong. His decision to jump ship took the industry by surprise. Some people had seen him as a rising star at AXA. There was talk of an internal power struggle but others said that AIA - Asia's largest insurer - made him an offer he couldn't refuse. In his new role he will direct the business strategies in key Southeast Asian countries and head up initiatives to enhance AIA's marketing in the region.