18 February 2019
Bright Smart Securities has set aside HK$40 million for bonuses to reward its 268 hard-working personnel. Photo: HKEJ
Bright Smart Securities has set aside HK$40 million for bonuses to reward its 268 hard-working personnel. Photo: HKEJ

‘Tis the season for bonuses once more

It’s that time of year again when you ask yourself if you are in the right racket.

Despite the chilly weather, there’s always something heartwarming about the approach of the Lunar New Year. And for some people in the right industry, it’s not just the thought of a hotpot dinner.

The Hang Seng Index kicked off the year with great zeal, rising nearly 3,000 points or 10 percent in January. In the property sector, home prices rose for the 14th straight month to post a 15 percent surge for the whole of 2017.

It’s no surprise then that some people in the banking, brokerage and real estate sectors are salivating as they await their fat bonuses to greet the Year of the Dog with glee.

One example is Bright Smart Securities, a local broker which rewarded its 268 hard-working personnel with a combined bonus of HK$40 million.

It is said that about 8 percent of the staff will get up to 15 months of their salaries as bonuses. The top money earner is the chief executive, but of course, while about 27 percent of the staff will get four months.

That kind of moolah is good enough to make a down payment for a small flat.

And if a tiny securities house can be that generous to its staff, you wonder how much more is in store for the investment banking tenants of Cheung Kong Centre, IFC and ICC.

Even Bank of China Hong Kong, though a part of a state-owned institution, made news for its substantial goodies for its staff.

The rewards may not be all cash, but they show nonetheless how much the company values its workers.

For the rank and file up to middle management, they will be entitled to extra two to three days of paid leave on top of a first-ever birthday leave.

That, along with an extended 14-week maternity leave, aligns the bank with the other two note-issuing foreign banks in Hong Kong.

Bank of China Hong Kong provided other perks unmatched in the industry, such as a maximum 30-year mortgage loan of US$20 million and a no-interest loan that is equivalent to four times an employee’s paycheque.

And before we forget to mention it, staff also get free medical check-up as well as have lunch and dinner at the office canteen for only HK$10 and HK$15 respectively per meal.

Property agents are also smiling from ear to ear. At Centanet, the city’s largest agency, agents got a 31-month quarterly bonus, back-office personnel received the equivalent of 2.65 months of their salaries, while management got nearly four months last year.

Staff at Coca-Cola also have something to brag about. Apart from the usual 13th-month pay and discretionary bonus, the 1,300 staff of Swire Bottlers will get supermarket coupons worth HK$4,500 and an average 3.5 percent salary increase this year.

What a happy way to conclude an amazing Year of the Rooster! Expectations are also high for the Year of the Dog!

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EJ Insight writer

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