Former govt info officer joins the rush – to sell insurance
Andrew Fung Wai-kwong, the former government information coordinator, has joined Prudential Insurance as a financial planner
It has been two months since former Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying finished his five-year term on June 30. And one of his biggest supporters, Andrew Fung Wai-kwong, who was the government information coordinator, has just found a new job.
According to some newspapers in Hong Kong, Fung has passed his insurance agent exam and joined Prudential Insurance as a financial planner.
Fung, who previously owned and operated a financial public relations firm called PR Concepts, had been a controversial person since he quit the Democratic Party in June 2012 so he could apply for government positions.
Originally he applied for an under-secretary position, which pays more than HK$200,000 (US$25,700) per month, but he didn’t succeed due to a lack of experience in public administration. He was then appointed by Leung as government information coordinator in April 2013.
The Democratic Party did not miss Fung, who soon became the focus of derision on the internet for his public gaffs.
Once when he was asked during a media interview if he would join the government, he responded: “I can only reply you in three words: I have no comment”. Clearly he missed the difference between three and four.
He even explained that his job in the Hong Kong government was like being a White House spokesperson.
Fung was definitely loyal to Leung but he was also a liability to the pro-Beijing camp. Last December, he triggered a verbal fight with a pro-democracy District Council member over Facebook – but forgot that he was actually not allowed to chat on social media during office hours.
Even Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor indirectly mocked him by saying she would never appoint a government information coordinator who enjoys verbal clashes and uses Facebook during office hours.
A change of career plans
When Fung finished his term, he told the government he would go back to his former profession and start a public relations firm – that would not bid on any contracts from the Chief Executive’s Office or the government information service.
He said he would become a freelance commentator for Hkgpao.com, which is a pro-Beijing website, and start writing a book on the colonial government before 1997. He said he could do so as long as he did not reveal any information that could cause embarrassment to the government.
But now, Fung seems to have had a change of heart with his plan to become one of the 89,000 insurance agents in the city.
Perhaps it’s a good move for him, as he could sell a lot of insurance products to mainlanders by promoting himself as an anti-Hong Kong Independence fighter.
In fact, the life insurance business in Hong Kong has been booming over the past two years, thanks to the trend in which mainlanders buy saving plans in Hong Kong as an indirect way to shift assets from China to Hong Kong.
As a result, top insurance companies such as AIA Group, Manulife and Prudential recorded strong new business premium growth from 50% to 100% in the first half this year.