Date
12 December 2017
Lee Shau-kee made donations to a number of social service sectors, especially education, where he donated HK$1 billion to nine universities in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ
Lee Shau-kee made donations to a number of social service sectors, especially education, where he donated HK$1 billion to nine universities in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

The making of Stock God and his philanthropy

Call it an index-linked donation. Tycoon Lee Shau-kee said he would donate HK$1 billion (US$128 million) to charity every year after the Hang Seng Index closed at 30,000.

The Henderson Land chairman made the pledge on his personal website last month, saying “My wish is to donate HK$1 billion to charity when the Hang Seng Index reached 30,000. Assuming each one would get HK$10,000, there will be 100,000 people to be benefited”.

The self-made tycoon decided to give back part of the investment returns from his HK$50 billion fund Shau Kee Financial Enterprises, which was set up in 2004.

His fund ballooned to HK$200 billion in three years at the peak of the China bubble in 2007 when he invested heavily in the initial public offerings of China’s leading enterprises.

Lee soon made his name as Stock God, who rivaled Warren Buffett as the man with the Midas touch in equity investment.

Although both men are not licensed stockbrokers, their advice were diligently followed by individual investors.

Buffett ran an annual fanfare for shareholders and fielded their questions for six hours. Lee also answered media questions on stocks — and even prepared a cheat sheet for all the stock codes he mentioned before the financial tsunami in 2008.

That was when Lee, affectionately known as Uncle Four to his fans, decided not to offer tips publicly because of the collapse in his stock portfolio, which caused angry followers to lose money.

But the stock market came back after a decade with the benchmark blue-chip index surging past 30,000, up some 35 per cent year to date, along with a broad rally among Asian stock markets.

It is time for Lee, who must have sat on huge gains in his vast China portfolio, to give back to society.

Lee made donations to a number of social service sectors, especially education, where he donated HK$1 billion to nine universities in Hong Kong, along with 600 million yuan to three top mainland universities back in 2007.

His philosophy as detailed on his website is to spend money as successfully as making it because he believes it is important to know how to redistribute wealth, just as important as how to collect it.

And that’s what makes Lee a philanthropist in the same league as tycoon Li Ka-Shing whose foundation donated more than HK$20 billion to global charities.

But none of them are like Buffett, who donated 99 per cent of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private charity in the world.

Still, giving back 1 per cent of investment return is such an admirable act.

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BK/RA

EJ Insight writer

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