Hong Kong’s Convoy unveils plans to spend money on hiring, bonuses in wake of arrests

Convoy Global Holdings, the Hong Kong-based financial advisory firm which saw three of its senior executives arrested earlier this month as part of an anti-corruption probe, has unveiled plans to spend some HK$300m (US$38.4m, £28.8m ) “on hiring and bonuses to boost morale” among its staff in the wake of the arrests, according to a published report. 

The report, published over the weekend in the South China Morning Post, quoted Convoy’s president and executive director, Ng Wing-fai, as telling an audience of journalists on Sunday that the company was preparing to spend HK$300m (US$38.4m) “to more than double its team of financial advisers next year, pay a bonus to retain staff and expand its business”.

The SCMP headlined the story in its print edition as “Convoy spending big to restore faith after arrests”.

“Our cash flow position is enough for us to maintain our operations for 18 months, even if we do nothing during the period,” Ng told the journalists at yesterday’s media briefing, the SCMP said, adding that the company had spent the past 10 days “verifying its financial health with a new management team”.

Convoy Global Holdings is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and mainly looks after local Hong Kong residents. It claims to be Hong Kong’s largest advisory firm, with some 100,000 clients, including the city’s Mandatory Provident Fund. As  reported, it has been under some pressure over the past two years as a result of regulatory changes that have transformed the market for some of its most-profitable products, and last November announced that it was acquiring a £24m stake in the UK-based Nutmeg investment platform, as part of its efforts to revamp its business model to suit its changing market.

Convoy officials didn’t immediately respond to International Investment‘s requests for comment.

Fresh start

Ng’s announcement of Convoy’s plans to expand its business, hire staff and pay staff for their loyalty comes in the wake of news of the arrest of three members of the company’s previous management team – chairman Quincy Wong Lee-man, vice-chairman Rosetta Fong Sut-sam and executive director Christie Chan Lai-yee – by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which, the SCMP noted, has been investigating loans and financing offered to related companies. The arrests came a day after former Convoy chief executive Mark Mak Kwong-yiu, now chairman of the Lerado Financial Group, was arrested.

The SCMP quoted Ng as saying that certain “cross-holdings among controlling shareholders” of Convoy had “hijacked” Convoy’s business over the past two to three years, but that the matter was being dealt with and that the “cancer” was “not spreading”.

However, “the dust may be far from settling at Convoy, as the largest shareholder, Kwok Hiu-kwan, who owns 29.91% of the company, has called for a shareholders meeting on December 29 to expel eight directors, including Ng”, the article added.

To read the SCMP’s story on its website, click here.

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