Try not to end up behind bars
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Try not to end up behind bars


Working in banking can often feel like a prison sentence – long hours, cruel compliance officers and no time off for good behaviour.

The poor saps at HSBC may suddenly be feeling an even stronger sense of incarceration. Already having to cope with working in the "unique" Hong Kong headquarters, a friend of mine tells me that his office now has bars on the windows.

Fortunately this is not the result of some regulator scheme to reduce banking scandals by locking bankers up pre-emptively (though surely it’s only a matter of time before they want to try this wheeze to punish the financial sector and take their pound of flesh).

No, these bars are actually strips of lights as the bank is planning some new fangled light display to celebrate its 150th birthday this year. What the extravaganza will look like is anybody’s guess as apparently the board still has to sign off the final design.

Never one to miss out on a chance to rib a friend — especially after a tipple or two — I suggested the bank could flash up the words "I’m sorry" in Farsi, or have a league table of their biggest fines in recent years.

Unfortunately he didn’t seem to find those ideas as funny as I did and our night finished soon after that.

No doubt we’ll see the light display in all its glory soon enough. But when you’re sipping your drinks in Sevva and moaning about the headache-inducing neon glare coming from the HSBC building, spare a thought for those people doing time inside.