Christine Ip adds to the HK connection at ANZ Australia and New Zealand Banking Group seems to have a liking for executives with a Hong Kong background. The latest to join them is Standard Chartered's head of consumer banking on the mainland, Christine Ip (below), as ANZ's China chief executive. She follows in the footsteps of former Standard Chartered senior managing director Alex Thursby, who became the Australian bank's Asia chief executive 18 months ago. That was just after Mike Smith, former Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp chief executive, had been head-hunted to take the helm of Australia's third-largest bank. With former Cathay Pacific Airways managing director Rod Eddington due to become ANZ chairman in the second half, we wonder what Asia strategy the team of ex-Hong Kong executives will come up with following last year's failed attempt to buy out Wing Lung Bank, which turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. Regulator reprimands bank An indiscretion from the past caught up with Standard Chartered yesterday when the Securities and Futures Commission reprimanded the bank for giving preferential treatment to a mutual fund client. The watchdog said Standard Chartered had allowed Stone Castle to get same-day pricing for switching out of a mutual fund into another without making the pricing arrangement available to other clients. The incident took place between May 2001 and September 2003, the SFC said. However, although the bank agreed to pay more than 1,200 clients who invested in the fund about HK$2,080 each, it refuses to accept that it has done anything wrong, with a spokesman declaring: 'We're making the payment voluntarily without accepting liability.' PR team in overdrive Looks like the public relations folks at HSBC are working flat out to prove that the bank is functioning as normal in these troubled times. Yesterday, we received no fewer than four press releases from the city's No1 lender telling us it had raised US$100 million for the Banyan Tree Indochina Hospitality fund, given a loan to Asahi Chemical to build a petrochemical plant in Thailand, organised a presentation on Asia's small business outlook by global co-head of commercial banking Margaret Leung Ko Mee-yee and produced a quarterly insight on how to invest in an age of uncertainty. None of them is particularly exciting, but in this post-Christmas, pre-Lunar New Year quiet period, it's good to know the 50-plus PR team is keeping busy. Masterly arrangement Tony Chan Chun-chuen is not known as a fung shui master for nothing. He sees things differently from most people, which could explain the mind-boggling name change he has come up with for his first Hong Kong-listed company, Global Solution Engineering, that will henceforth be known as UURG Corp. The name comes from the phrase 'Utilise oUr Renewable enerGy' and is meant to reflect Mr Chan's attempt to create 'a green enterprise providing intelligent building solutions and sustainable design consultancy and professional services'. Of course it does. Beijing not in party mood Hang on to those memories of the Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony, because you're not likely to see anything as spectacular from the mainland for some time. National belt-tightening has already got the party bosses declaring that this year's celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of communist rule will be low-key affairs, avoiding any hints of extravagance. Yesterday, Guangdong governor Huang Huahua (below) even went as far as to state that celebrity performances to mark the founding of the people's republic would be 'a waste of money'. He also frowned on the idea of elaborate invitation cards for anniversary events. Mr Huang is the first governor to jump publicly on the party bandwagon after the China Daily said this week the traditional military parade to be held in Beijing on October 1 would be a scaled-down version of earlier spectacular events, adding, 'extravagance will give way to solemnity', with the money saved being used to help reconstruction efforts in Sichuan.