Betty Buyside: Hong Kong heaven

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It's a bit hot and sweaty, but that seems a small price to pay for a brief

spell in the lap of luxury! Two days in Hong Kong wasn't nearly enough and

in many ways I am longing to return.

Lowly buyside analysts like me don't get to travel that much usually I have

to wait for someone like Merrill Lynch or Goldman Sachs to assemble such a

compelling line-up of public companies in some overseas location that my boss

simply has to agree to let me go.

This time, though, it was more of a PA trip than anything else. Anthony

Academic had been invited to give a paper at a conference at Hong Kong

University and I couldn't resist tagging along, deploying all my 'frequent

flier' miles.

As I'm trying to save up all my holiday for my honeymoon (yes, he did ask), I

persuaded my boss, our Head of Research, to let me have 2 days off on the

understanding that I visited some companies. I am of course supposed to be

a global analyst!

I asked some more experienced colleagues how to plan my trip. They suggested

I call a certain European bank which, while generating pretty low quality

coverage in Europe, apparently had some great analysts in Asia. I'm glad I

followed their advice. This is a bank that knows how to treat someone like me!

My day's itinerary was sorted out in detail and faxed to me in advance, and

then a chauffeur-driven car was laid on to take me to and from each

appointment. I could get used to this - makes a change from struggling with

the tube each time there's a results meeting somewhere too far to walk to

from EC2.

It's also very noticeable how much better the sellside over there seem to know

their companies. They are almost good enough to move to the buyside! It

never fails to amaze me how little in-depth information about a company some

sellside analysts in the UK seen to get away with. Still, the bear market

should sort them out PDQ.

Of course the other mission in Hong Kong was to buy some whopping great

diamonds, after Anthony Academic finally got round to proposing last month. He

must have realised that a merger (or acquisition, depending upon how you

look at it!) offered the best opportunity to improve the quality of his


However, the up front transaction fees will be substantial as I

can't be seen in anything less than a serious collection of jewels. My

initial plan - five large stones - had to be abandoned as my fingers were

simply too slender (Anthony Academic calls them skinny).

To be able to wear five stones I would have had to had much smaller ones -

unthinkable! So I have purchased three and Anthony is going to pay for the

setting. This way I don't have to wear a ring that an academic can afford to


If I wanted a two-carat plus solitaire, I should be marrying a sellside

analyst in Shanghai. Forget Hong Kong China is where the money is going to

be made in the future.

If I was starting out again, planning a career in the City, I would study

Mandarin and Economics. That way I could follow companies with staggering

growth potential in the one market in the world that is absolutely guaranteed

to grow over the next ten years and my long-term career would be assured.

Not that I'm doing badly as it is. The final interview last month with our American friends proved successful - but instead of taking the job, I used the offer to win a whopping pay rise from my current employers. In this market that's nothing short of a miracle.

But I'm afraid you'll have to wait until next month to hear how I did it.

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