Wednesday, August 06, 2008

進取的風險

見到東亞銀行(023)和渣打集團(2888)兩份業績,可以用股市術語形容:榮辱互見。大衛主席(東亞主席李國寶之英文名也)相信要加把勁,挽回投資者的信心,特別是在提升風險管理方面。

面對投資者的訴求,上市公司管理層如果無壓力,恐怕難令人信服,但往往可能會忘記銀行本來屬於保守經營的特色,轉而將資金投向風險較高的投資,希望有更佳回報,以滿足股東的要求,可惜一旦轉身不夠快,投資不深的,仍可撇帳鞠躬求原諒,然後戴罪立功,但若落重注的話,隨時會踏上不歸路。

還記得曾經有85年歷史的美國貝爾斯登(Bear Stearns)嗎?公司易手前6個月,即是去年9月11日,原來其總裁(CEO)Jimmy Cayne,當時73歲,早已有一隻腳踏入鬼門關,一度出現昏迷和虛弱情況,而且血壓之低,已處於危險水平,呼吸急速且深,但他竟然話與其叫救護車,應安排一架普通車輛送他入醫院,因為擔心自己一旦不幸身故,可能會對當時已累跌27%的貝爾斯登股價,再插一刀。

醫生發現他的前列腺受感染,更一度有17分鐘不醒人事,的確危急,幸好留院10日後終康復,身體還瘦了30磅,恐怕想纖體的女士們也不想用此方法減磅吧!

可惜,Jimmy Cayne自己工作了近40年(當中15年做CEO)的公司最終仍救不來。Jimmy Cayne在公司易手後,首度向《財富》(Fortune)話,根本不知道怎樣去處理那些按揭相關證券不斷貶值情況,甚至不懂得如何應付兩隻投資該類產品的對沖基金倒閉後,毒害「大熊」(美國業界稱貝爾斯登為「the Bear」)資產負債表的影響,更形容那段時間彷佛身處黑暗隧道裡,看不到一點光。

他的身家亦一下子由16億美元(約124.8億港元)紙上富貴,因大熊被賤賣予摩根大通,大幅縮水至只餘6億美元(約46.8億港元)。回頭一望,他又自豪地話,自1993年接任CEO後,股價從16.61美元,飆升至07年1月的172.69美元高峰,若果連同股息在內,股東可享受平均每年複式增長率達21%的回報!

不過,這間以提供證券買賣服務,以及替華爾街的金融機構提供後勤服務而起家的公司,從經營保守的經紀業務,走上從事多元化金融服務,更大量充塞那些按揭相關證券的投資,陷入失控地步,一切美好回報亦成美夢。

話說回來,Jimmy Cayne能夠加入大熊,就因玩橋牌而獲賞識,更憑橋牌建立關係網而邁向成功,連股神巴菲特亦曾是他的橋牌對手。禤中怡不知道大衛主席是否橋牌愛好者,但今日無論是零售或是投資銀行都已是一頭複雜的企業怪獸,即使經營技術多高明,駕馭不當就有凶險。

(8月6日刊於《am730》)

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