THERE was some good news and some bad news last week for a therapist who rents an office in New World Tower. The good news was her rent was going up only 10 per cent. The bad news was that her office space was going up 25 per cent, so the total rent bill was going up 37.5 per cent. Notice that this doesn't involve actually making the office any bigger. 'I rang them and asked, 'What are you talking about?'. How come the office just expands?' said the therapist, Cathy Tsang-Feign. In estate agents' jargon, the building is moving from a net basis, where you pay for what you get, to a gross basis, where you pay rent for your share of the lift lobby, toilet etc. The previous agreement was for 320 square feet at $50 a sq ft, making $16,000 a month. Now it's 400 sq ft at $55 a sq ft, or $22,000 a month. Aircon and management charges, which are on a per sq ft basis, are rising in the same way. And New World confirmed on Friday that all new leases in the building will employ the same conjuring trick - sorry, that should read 'technical adjustment to floor area calculations'. Look on the bright side, Cathy. New World is working hard on opening up a great new area of business for you - tenant therapy: helping tenants overcome their feelings of powerlessness and despair. Tapeworms INCIDENTALLY, Lai See popped up to measure Cathy's office using a conventional tape measure, as opposed to the special ones used by landlords and real estate agents. It's actually quite a nice office with comfy furniture, plants, bookshelves and the like. However, the ambience isn't supplied by the landlord. That's supplied by the tenant. All the landlord supplies is the usable space, which when carefully measured turned out to be not 400 square feet or even 320, but a rather more compact 262 square feet. Swift move A STOCKBROKER in the retail end of the market is deeply disappointed by the latest brochure from Hongkong Bank. He explains that middle-income clients for years have taken out tax loans, then paid the tax using their year-end bonus, thus freeing the loan to punt the market. It happened because banks normally quoted only a monthly rate. But Hongkong Bank has this year put honest, annual percentage rates on its brochure for the first time. This shows that a 0.55 per cent loan works out at 12.7 per cent a year, and once brokerage fees and tax are included, the stock market would have to hit 11,000 in 12 months just to break even, which doesn't look so certain. The bank's move, incidentally, ends the rather strange situation where Paul Selway-Swift of the Hong Kong Association of Banks kept telling banks to quote honest annualised figures, while Paul Selway-Swift of Hongkong Bank refused to do so. Name dropping THERE was horrible news in the latest South China Brokerage report on China-related companies. It discloses that the term B share is about to be replaced by the term 'domestically listed overseas invested shares', which abbreviates to DLOIS. Still, it could be worse. They could easily have chosen 'domestically registered overseas shares and securities'. Faxing lyrical WE turned up to the Small Claims Court on Friday morning eagerly awaiting the case of the fax directory publisher versus the finance house. This is an interesting business: in an earlier hearing, the finance firm alleged that the directory publisher is one of those rather sharp outfits which makes people sign things that look like change of address forms, but if examined carefully the form turns out to be a binding contract committing the signer to big, expensive adverts in unknown fax directories which never actually get printed. We waited. And waited. And the case was never heard - a bit of a disappointment, because it was left as a real cliffhanger in the preliminary hearing. It was agreed that the finance firm would pay 50 per cent if the directory publisher turned up with a copy of the book. Well, it looks like the book has turned up - or at least one copy of it. So the finance firm has paid up. We haven't actually met anyone who has received this directory, which was supposedly published worldwide. Still, one copy is all they need. Half wits GETTING back to therapy, an article has appeared in Germany's Der Spiegel saying that a survey of the upper levels of 116 German companies found 60 per cent of the managers 'neurotically disturbed, half of them moderately to seriously'. Having seen no evidence that German managers are different from any others, apart from their propensity for wearing chunky sports jackets, there's an intriguing thought: every time two executives sign a contract, statistically one of them has some sort of mental problem.