High rents leave bankers in the pink
We all know Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world. It makes us almost prouder to live here because it says, without the need to be explicitly vulgar, “we can afford it” and therefore “we are very rich”. I often congratulate myself on life’s achievements as I look down from the lofty heights of the Peak.
But, worryingly, it seems, even the most well-heeled are feeling the pinch. Several of our glossiest investment banks have been forced to move their offices from Central as rents reach astronomical levels.
I don’t just mean to the ICC, which is about the limit of socially acceptable travel time, in my opinion. One bank has recently moved its senior front-line staff to Taikoo. Not only has this put considerable distance between the employees of said bank and the Captain’s Bar, but also being in close proximity to firms in the so-called creative industries seems to be rubbing off.
I visited said bank for a meeting last week. On arriving in its shiny new lobby, I was greeted by what can only be described as a circus. Grown men in pink hot pants and feather boas is not what I would call appropriate corporate attire.
I enquired if they were lost but was told that they actually worked at the bank and their apparel was because they were raising funds for a charity day. Keen to escape, I dashed into the nearest meeting room only to be greeted by my friend — also dressed in pink. Beware the banks that move out of Central, I say.