CLSA's Utopian vision

Blondie and Shaggy please the crowd at the CLSA party.

No conference is complete without a multi-million dollar party. And once again, CLSA delivered on the latter.

Last year's theme was 'Sin', but given the recent global criticism of equity analysts, a new theme was obviously required that was a little more aspirational. Accordingly, this year's theme was Utopia (spelt 'Yu To Pia' by CLSA).

What was this Utopia exactly? Was it a world where there were as many sell recommendations as buys; where the analyst could walk in a downy meadow with a fund manager and say "You're my best friend"; where corporate governance and transparency reached new levels of excellence?

CLSA 7Or was it a world populated by belly dancers, a bisexual fairy and a lady called Miss Behaved (left) who stuck swords and chairlegs down her throat? A world where Adam Moss teamed red trousers with a blue velvet jacket and was still holding court at 4.30am? Where CLSA's CEO, Rodney Smyth was brought onto the stage and ended up with cucumber in his mouth?

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You may have guessed what this particular Utopia was, and you may have also guessed that none of the fund managers in attendance were complaining either.

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The evening's entertainment began with a session by the DJ from Cafe del Mar before the main event kicked off around 10pm. Last year, it will be recalled, CLSA brought the Corrs to top the bill, and the year before, Tom Jones.

This time it was a double-header.

First up this year was veteran rocker, Blondie, who appeared with two female dancers and two males. The latter pair wore high heeled shoes and looked so angry that they probably bought Hynix stock last year. During the number 'Rip it to shreds', Blondie gradually ripped the male dancers' clothes of, and revealed that both were wearing black frilly bras and panties.

CLSA 3Having firmly established that this Utopia was not for minors, Blondie gave way to Shaggy, whose retinue of dancers were boom-bastically prepared to shake it, grind it, and bump it. For those unfamiliar with Shaggy, he has a rumbling voice that is best understood after 18 glasses of rum. He is, to use a music industry term, one-for-da-ladies.

The latter point was clearly demonstrated by women periodically invading the stage. Seeing where things were going, Shaggy ended the show by inviting all the lovely ladies to come onto the stage and dance with him.

CLSA 5As with last year's event, the end of the live musical entertainment coincided with the falling of a giant partition to reveal a nightclub area in the next room. The only disappointment was that CLSA didn't bring back the girl with the chainsaw who attacked her own armour-plated crotch. Anyway, this was a timely reminder that even in a Utopia you can't have everything.

 

Early betting for who will top the bill at next year's event:

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85/1 Belinda Carlisle

33/1 Kylie Minogue

20/1 Paul McCartney

4/1 U2

Evens The Bee Gees

(Please note, in the light of recent legal changes, all bets must be placed with the Hong Kong Jockey Club or the CLSA equity derivatives desk).