Operation Santa Claus

Morgan Stanley caps off HK$3.2m in donations raised with Christmas song contest

Bank employees from 10 departments formed five choir groups to participate in the festive event

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 December, 2016, 10:28pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 December, 2016, 10:28pm

Carols filled the air at the International Commerce Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on Thursday as more than 100 bankers displayed their musical talents in a Christmas sing-off to raise funds for charity.

For the 20th consecutive year, banking giant Morgan Stanley is supporting Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity drive organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. This year Morgan Stanley raised more than HK$3.2 million in donations.

In celebrating this milestone, the bank organised its annual Morgan Stanley Directors’ Choir – an internal choir competition and company tradition that is into its 14th year.

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The choral event marked the grand finale of the bank’s year-long fundraising efforts for Operation Santa Claus.

Employees from 10 departments formed five choir groups to participate in the contest.

Asia Pacific co-CEO Gokul Laroia said the bank cherished the opportunity to give back to society.

Morgan Stanley has donated more than HK$27 million to the campaign over the past 20 years.

“One of our four core values is ‘giving back’,” he said.

“We have contributed to over 160 charities associated with Operation Santa Claus.”

Laroia said he was glad to see the high level of participation for the singing event, and how people were enjoying themselves amid the festive spirit.

“I think people do it because they genuinely want to do it,” he said, adding: “This is not something anyone is forced to do. It’s not like if you don’t show up, it’s going to reflect in your performance review.”

He added that he also relished the competitiveness of choir groups this year and how dedicated contestants were.

“I think the singing is the best it’s ever been for the last 10 years,” he said.

“We introduced an element of competition and everyone wanted to win. That’s part and parcel of the industry that we are in so we can’t lose [the habit],” Laroia added.

He also said that the contending groups had practised for weeks prior to the event. The eventual winners brought the house down with their performance of the 1976 Muppet Show version of Jingle Bell Rock, where singers put on sunglasses and jovially jammed with stage props such as inflatable instruments.

In addition to the singing competition, members from campaign beneficiary Silence, a non-governmental organisation serving the hearing-impaired, also showed up to lend support. Members of Silence joined the festive music in sign language.

This year’s total donation sum marked the second-highest amount that Morgan Stanley has raised for the campaign.