PCCW annual shareholders' drama minus Richard Li It's becoming almost as popular as Where's Wally? The concert hall at ArtisTree resounded with the mutterings of disgruntled PCCW shareholders yesterday, many of whom asked: 'Where's Richard Li Tzar-kai?' About 400 shareholders turned up for the annual meeting with some of them rushing to grab the microphone to express their opinions even before the formal question-and-answer session had begun. As usual, Prince Richard was nowhere to be seen - away on another overseas business trip. A Putonghua-speaking shareholder said it was his first time at the company's AGM and felt it strange that the chairman was not present to take questions from his minority shareholders. 'Where is Li Tzar-kai?' asked the man, who said he was a civil servant working in Hong Kong. 'He should be here to give us an answer.' The question was, as always, why had PCCW fallen to HK$2 from the once lofty height of HK$28 (before the five-for-one share split). Another shareholder asked a similar question, but added a hostile comment about all the high-paid directors, including former director Francis Yuen Tin-fan, using language we could not repeat here. 'Who are all these people?' he asked. Mr Li's baby son Ethan was also mentioned by a shareholder who said he hoped the boy would bring 'good governance and perpetual peace' to PCCW, as his Chinese name suggested. The meeting was hosted by independent non-executive director Aman Mehta, who repeatedly said Mr Li had sent his apologies for his absence, but this did little to placate the angry shareholders. There was a light moment only when a representative from the alliance of minority shareholders sporting an 'I Love PCCW' t-shirt approached group managing director Alex Arena (above), encouraging him to show 'more affection' towards the company. Mr Arena said he liked the t-shirt and often wore the company's logo himself on his apparel, especially when he was out jogging in a tracksuit. 'Otherwise, we would not be doing our job,' he said. 3,300 years to double money In the current low-interest environment, how long would it take to double your money? According to Merrill Lynch, if you put your money in three-month treasury bills or their equivalent it would take 140 years in Britain, 360 years in the United States and 440 years in Japan. In Hong Kong, it would take even longer. Based on a 0.021 per cent return on Hong Kong Exchange Fund bills, you could double your money in 3,300 years. Making up for lost bonuses On the face of it, apparel retailer I.T gave no bonuses to its top management after the firm reported a 75 per cent drop in net profit to HK$42.55 million for the year to March. But in reality, the firm raised basic salaries and housing allowances to compensate its directors. Chairman Sham Kar-wai may have forgone his HK$8.5 million bonus, but he raised his basic salary by half a million to HK$4.81 million and took an extra HK$5 million for housing. So his remuneration actually decreased 24 per cent to HK$10.55 million. Ditto for former executive director William Lo Wing-yan, who left the company two weeks ago. Mr Lo, who received HK$7 million for 2007, did not receive anything last year, but his basic salary increased by a million to HK$4.21 and he received another half a million as housing allowance. This made his total remuneration HK$6.15 million, down 48 per cent on the previous year. Buffett's baby quote Our quote of the week comes from investment guru Warren Buffett who was asked to comment about government efforts to stimulate the United States economy. 'They're doing things, but they take a while to have an effect,' said the sage of Omaha. 'You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.'