Fat cats at Tom Online show the world is never fair The world may be flat, but never fair. Take for example Tom Online, which is in under a privatisation offer by parent Tom Group. Chief executive Wang Lei-lei last year made HK$21.08 million, down 55 per cent, as his firm suffered a 36 per cent drop in profits to US$28.65 million. From November 2005 to February 2006, Mr Wang consistently sold shares almost every other day after exercising his options at HK$1.50, cashing out an eight-digit bonus last year as the share price moved above HK$2 on its way to a high in April of HK$2.75. Tom Online's share price has since collapsed back to the HK$1.50 level. At 34, the youngest board member at Li Ka-shing's Nasdaq and Hong Kong-listed internet firm, Mr Wang accounted for half of the executive payroll in Tom Group, which totalled HK$39.56 million. Tom Group made HK$32 million in profit last year, down 87 per cent. His salary also trumped the pay of Tencent co-founder and chairman Ma Huateng and another co-founder and director Zhang Zhidong combined. Last year, Mr Ma made 7.04 million yuan, up 69 per cent, while Mr Zhang made 6.33 million yuan, up 51 per cent. Consider that Tencent's share price more than tripled last year on the back of a 120 per cent increase in net profit to 1.06 billion yuan, and that Tom Online's shares were down almost 20 per cent, it was easy to see whose shareholders had the laugh throughout. Banks rough it up at Sevens There is never a shortage of creativity among investment banks when it comes to social events as big as the Hong Kong Sevens. Some banks approached the Sevens weekend as if it were their initial public offering. So that was why Goldman Sachs was giving away inflatable shields with a medieval look, fighting Citigroup's 'gladiators', Morgan Stanley's 'Preppy' look, Merrill Lynch's 'skiing' and JP Morgan's back-to-basics 'rugby'. The European banks were a bit wild, too. Sponsor Credit Suisse flooded its boxes with details of their 10-year achievement, not the least of which was their corporate advertising 'Some think piss-up, we think Rugby'. CLSA went with vodka, countered by Deutsche Bank's airport lounge, versus UBS' Wild West saloon. FinanceAsia, which each year rates investment bank boxes, picked ABN Amro as winner for 2007. The verdict: 'In keeping with Sevens traditions, it got the whole package right. It had a belly dancer, a camel, fez hats, good atmospheric decor and food that fitted the theme.' It may also be the last time ABN takes the award with Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland just two competitors so far linked to a takeover. David Webb's April Fools flop Sevens announcer Dave 'Willo' Williams may have April-fooled almost 40,000 spectators with his standing tribute for the anniversary of the creator of rugby, but corporate governance activist David Webb can't fool Lai See and his readers. Revealing an IPO named China Plutonium International Holding, Mr Webb reported that the Daya Bay-based firm had recently signed a letter of intent to acquire exclusive rights to China's largest plutonium mine in Xinjiang. The largest customer is KimJI Enterprises, based in North Korea, which has recently tested its first bomb and may have launched a new line of fake HK$1,000 'Supernotes' after Washington clamped down on fake US$100 bills allegedly being laundered through Macau. Of course, all leading local tycoons are to become the strategic shareholders. Anyone who made it to the latter part of the prospectus would have seen that the firm was run by chairman and chief executive Fu Shun with his wife April Fu Liu-ah. Nice try, David.