By George Chen The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Salvatore Ferragamo

By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Hong Kong is a real shopping paradise where people in the financial industry apparently have privileges not just because they can probably afford to buy more top brands, but they can also buy them exclusively and at a discount, at least for this Christmas.

This week, an email from Italian luxury maker Salvatore Ferragamo, exclusively inviting Morgan Stanley staff in Hong Kong to join its pre-Christmas sale, has caught the attention of their jealous peers at rival banks.

With the exclusive invitation, a Morgan Stanley employee in Hong Kong could visit a store of Salvatore Ferragamo in the former British colony to buy its bags, shoes, belts or other luxury products at a special discount  before the items were put on sale for the public.

“Please present the business card of Morgan Stanley before making your purchase,” Salvatore Ferragamo said in the invitation.

My Morgan Stanley friends in Hong Kong told me they didn’t remember such promotions last Christmas when everybody in the financial industry was still deeply worried about a “double dip” and unsure when the end of the financial crisis might come. This year is quite different. At least Salvatore Ferragamo seems certain the buying power of Morgan Stanley’s staff should have now recovered.