Highest-paid director of 2007 takes 96pc pay cut Hong Kong's highest-paid director of 2007 saw his take-home pay slashed by 96 per cent last year. Value Partners chairman and chief investment officer Cheah Cheng Hye (above) earned HK$9.35 million last year - HK$6.04 million in salary, plus a HK$3.31 million bonus. That compares with HK$253.59 million, including a HK$234.35 million bonus, in his golden year. On paper, however, the founder of the boutique fund house made HK$105.42 million last year, when you take into account a share-based deal worth HK$96 million. The deal includes an option to buy Value Partners shares at HK$5.50; however, the counter closed at only HK$2 yesterday. Mr Cheah's pay reflected the 95.3 per cent slump in Value Partners' profit last year to HK$66.6 million. That figure would have been much lower had it not been for a US$7 million cash gift received from two former United States hedge funds and an existing shareholder to help steer the firm through difficult times. The firm's six other fund managers experienced similar pay cuts, apart from Choi Nga-chung, who joined Value Partners in 1996 but quit the industry last year. We understand Mr Choi, 38, spends more time playing tennis than the stock market these days. 10 for service, 7 for earnings The Bank of China said it scored a perfect 10 during last year's Olympics. The world's No3 lender by market value said in its annual results announcement yesterday that as the sole official banking partner of the Beijing Olympics, its financial services were subject to 'zero error and zero complaint'. We'll take their word for it, but the achievement was not enough to offset last year's disappointing profit growth of just 14 per cent when everyone was expecting something around 20 per cent. Crisis of liquidity Standard Chartered has issued a report on the real liquidity crisis - a shortage of fresh water. The bank focuses on how fundamental the limited resource is to 2.8 billion people in Asia, Africa and the Middle East (StanChart's core operating areas) and says they could suffer severe water scarcity by 2025. With many crystal-ball gazers predicting the next major war will be fought over water, StanChart has picked now, a time of global financial turmoil, when governments are looking to plough money into infrastructure to stimulate their economies, to remind them that there is no better long-term investment than water projects. Moonlighting at the match Rugby fanatic Toby Lawson couldn't have timed his move to Hong Kong better. The financier took over as managing director of French brokerage Newedge's operations here earlier this month. Mr Lawson, who worked with Fimat Australia, which merged with Newedge in January last year, also has a career as a rugby match commentator, calling Super 12 and Super 14 games as well as internationals for Australian broadcaster ABC since 1996. He recently hosted the Hong Kong Rugby Tens dinner and will be assisting with some colour commentary for the two-day Tens tournament that begins today at Hong Kong Football Club as a prelude to the weekend's Sevens, where he will be soaking up the atmosphere from the stands. Lights out at RBS Royal Bank of Scotland is keen to show off its green credentials these days; anything, we suppose, to deflect from the British government's bailouts and the controversy over former chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin's pension. The bank is taking part in Saturday's Earth Hour, turning off its buildings' lights around the world to help in the World Wide Fund for Nature's campaign. And yesterday it pointed out that it had avoided 9.35 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by having RBS carbon trading expert John Metzler hold a news teleconference instead of flying to Hong Kong. As RBS is the title sponsor of the recently completed Six Nations Rugby Championship, we bet Mr Metzler would still rather have flown here and perhaps taken in the Tens and the Sevens.