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BNP Paribas: Time gentlemen, s’il vous plaît

The good times might be back in Asia’s markets for foreign investment banks. Alas, though, the feel-good factor does not appear to have reached French bank BNP Paribas.

Sponsor of a recent investment conference in Vietnam, the bank graciously okayed host to a herd of international fund managers, bankers and companies at a cocktail party.

Keen to impress, BNP officials ensured that the event was packed to the rafters, with barely room to squeeze past the bar. And after a day’s hard conferencing, delegates were clearly relishing the opportunity to continue networking, lured by the promise of free-flowing cocktails to lubricate proceedings.

So imagine the disappointment of those invited when it became clear that the only beverages on offer were some disappointing wine and the staple beer, washed down with canapés of indeterminate origin.

To add insult to injury, on the stroke of 7pm, barely an hour into proceedings, apologetic bar staff informed still thirsty delegates that BNP had finished paying for drinks and any further beverages would have to be paid for. Needless to say the bar emptied rather quickly. Could it be that BNP has foreseen a sharp downturn in Asian markets and has decided to cut costs already?