I ran into an IPO banker at a Chinese securities firm recently. She was a young woman, recently promoted to the job. When I met her in the Captain’s Bar, she struck me as a rather eager person, desperate to build new connections, hit new heights, and in general, try very hard to impress.
But all of this ambition went to waste on her due diligence visit to a Chinese client in a remote northern city last month.
Hoping to fuel herself in preparation for the meeting that was scheduled for shortly after she was set to land, she made a big mistake – despite mild allergies to a variety of foods, she ate everything offered on the flight.
As her plane taxied to the gate, she felt a slight itchiness on her face, which quickly developed into blurred vision. When she looked at herself through her phone camera, she saw her eyelids had swollen to the size of peaches.
The poor girl then made her second mistake: she went to the meeting instead of the hospital. Her clients looked at her in shock, trying to hold back nervous laughter.
“I think they were genuinely scared,” she told me. “But I got the job done, thinking that nothing worse could happen after the meeting was finished.”
Alas, she was wrong, because she was then asked to pose for a photograph alongside her clients and the local tax bureau chiefs, so that the Hong Kong SFC would have a record in case anything fishy were to come up and they needed to investigate.
“I don’t know if they can tell it’s me in the photo,” she said. “But I can't.”