SocGen rogue faces stiff competition for Asia job Who still wants to be a trader after the latest Societe Generale fiasco? Quite a few, according to recruitment firm Matthew Hoyle International. This past month, his firm counted a 25 to 30 per cent increase in applications for positions as traders of equities, derivatives and arbitrage in Asia Pacific, mainly from the United States, and to a lesser extent, Europe. 'Volatility has presented an opportunity, not a threat,' said Mr Hoyle. 'Despite what happened with the French trader, the hiring spree has not been affected.' That Asia seems more promising is just one reason why these traders want a piece of the action. But incumbent traders seem less inclined to change jobs this year, despite having pretty much the same bonus as the year before. A typical curriculum vitae is from someone in his or her mid- to late-20s with some trading experience. The starting salary is about US$250,000 per annum, with bonuses ranging from a factor of one up to five. Jerome Kerviel seems over the hill and over-qualified, so he need not apply! Going for gold If you fancy being a trader, try this first. Phillip Commodities, Sun Hung Kai Commodities and Taifook Futures are launching an online game that lets you trade on the new Mini-Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which is set to debut on March 31. The winners will be awarded gold ingots worth HK$150,000 from sponsor Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. This could be a golden opportunity. Modest Midas Tycoon Lee Shau-kee made an interesting confession yesterday: I am not the Midas of stocks, just a pretender. In his first public appearance this year, Mr Lee read out a prepared statement saying he only wanted to share his personal investment view in the hope that people make money. But he didn't want to see his followers buy stocks solely on his advice. 'By clarifying that I am not the Midas of stocks, I feel more at peace - so please don't call me that nickname anymore,' Uncle Four said. Mr Lee, whose family was proud of his god-like stock-picking knack, was subject to media criticism after his always-bullish forecasts failed to work magic this month. The Hang Seng Index has fallen 12 per cent year to date. Disclaimer aside, he quickly returned to his old self, giving away his favourite stock codes and index forecasts for the quarter. We'd better take his numbers seriously, although perhaps not his words. Chain e-mail E-mail travels fast, but spam even faster. Half of the town's public relations agencies received a newsletter from Destination Macau magazine yesterday morning. And some of them forwarded it to Lai See. It all started with someone sending out an internal e-mail, but a colleague replied to all recipients. Within 30 minutes, all recipients were freaked out and kept pressing 'reply to all' and asking to be removed from the list. But by doing so, they committed the crime of spamming, as one agency called it. In the end, the magazine editor Anthony Lawrance sent out an apology, just in time to stop a corporate crisis. Fit for a prince Working for Prince Richard could be a relaxing experience - if you are in the right business. Shortly after acquiring Hokkaido ski resort Hanazono, Li Tzar-kai's property flagship Pacific Century Premium Developments yesterday said it had also bought Thai Muang Beach Golf Club on the lesser known island of Phangna off Phuket. With a long stretch of white sand fringing the pristine Andaman Sea, the golf club is destined to be turned into a 173 hectare multi-facet resort. Given his passion for skiing and diving, we can rest assured that these projects will be world-class and will make the prince happy. For the Hanazono revamp, he has assigned Ecosign, which developed Whistler Blackcomb of British Columbia. Pacific Century staff are now in holiday mood, dreaming about a white Lunar New Year break in Japan and relaxing on a white sandy beach in Thailand later in the year.