IMAGINE the scene. A woman says to her husband: ''Darling, we're going to have a baby.'' The man replies: ''I'm so happy. We can now ring Jardine CMG Life Assurance and get our offspring an insurance policy.'' This is our suggested advertisement for the folks over at Jardine CMG who yesterday made an assault on the final frontier for the insurance industry - babies. ''Ideally suited for young people aged between 0-11, the 'Life planner' investment scheme incorporates a permanent form of life insurance protection together with high savings elements to provide funds for educational and retirement needs,'' they said. That bit about retirement, incidentally, is not the parents but the baby. The policy, once started, can run until the holder is 60 and the payout can come when he's 100, with all sorts of extra bits added on like school fee plans and the like. It's one of the amazing things about actuarial science that they can guarantee that even in 2054 premiums won't rise. The premiums are not dependent on filling out a lifestyle questionnaire, so chain-smoking babies who spend their weekend hang-gliding while drunk pay the same as everyone else. About the only people unable to get life insurance now are dead ones, and no doubt the insurers are trying to create a ''product'' for them even as you read this. Last word AN outraged Australian in the shape of diary man Quentin Kilian objected strongly to yesterday's piece describing his nation as ''vocally challenged''. ''The point is that Australia has fostered some of the world's greatest singing talents,'' he said. His list included The Bee Gees, The Seekers, Rolf ''Stylophone'' Harris, Kylie Minogue, and Jason Donovan. Ultra-fast FOLLOWING its success in trading medical hardware such as ultrasound equipment, defribrillators and the like, it's only natural that Ultronics Holdings should decide to splash nearly $13 million on a cement factory in China. No, that's not a misprint. It's paying $12.7 million in a loan and shares deal that will give it a 50 per cent stake in an 18 per cent stake in the Zhejiang Xindu Cement Company. Any shareholder who doesn't like this deal will have to sell his shares. There's going to be no shareholder vote and yesterday's announcement made no mention of an independent valuation. Chronicological coincidence: listed companies are supposed to stick to their knitting and not make big changes to their business in their first year on the exchange. Ultronics was listed on July 27. Curved ball A CLASSIC bit of United States-style spin-doctoring from the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association yesterday when releasing its big survey. Remember it was the HKIFA which asked its members not to participate in the independently run Business Post survey on this topic because it alleged we'd misreport and oversimplify the issue. According to the summary they prepared on their own survey, HKIFA members are calling for soft-dollar rebates - a sort of upmarket air-miles system for fund managers - to be regulated more closely. Fascinating stuff. But wasn't the debate about the much more interesting hard cash rebates, occasionally described as kickbacks? Readers have got to wade through eight paragraphs of stuff and flip on to the second page before the figures appear saying that 65 per cent of HKIFA members support banning cash rebates entirely. Wow. This is an industry forum voting in favour of ethical behaviour at the expense of its own profits, a truly noteworthy and praiseworthy event much more interesting than anything about soft dollars. Why is this fact being downplayed? Suggestions can be sent on a postcard to Richard Haw, chairman of the HKIFA, c/o Schroders Asia, a fund manager which, incidentally, currently takes cash rebates. Wire-walking THE news from the offices of Reuters, the news agency and financial data firm, is that it's thinking of relocating some of its staff. Apparently it's a toss-up between Taikoo Shing and Bombay. Interesting choice. On the one hand you've got a city staggering under an almost unbearable weight of people, some of whom barely have enough spare cash to feed themselves, with the gap between rich and poor widening by the day. And on the other hand, you've got Bombay. Natty snapper IT'S often said of holidaymakers that if they look like your passport photo it's time to go home. A place called Xia Qi Hall on On Lan Street in Central is turning this on its head by offering a 30 minute make-up and hair job followed by a session where they take 12 passport photos. One person who passed Xia Qi was musing: ''The trouble with passport photos is that they make you look like a shifty criminal. ''Of course, if you are a shifty criminal then upmarket passport photos like this will make the immigration officers think it's not your passport.''