'God bless us every one!' said Tiny Tim. He sat very close to his father's side upon his little stool. Bob Cratchit held his withered little hand in his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him. 'Spirit,' said Scrooge, 'tell me if Tiny Tim will live.'  'I see a vacant seat,' replied the Ghost, 'in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved.'  A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens.

It isn't cheap to set up a hedge fund. It would be cheaper if the staff didn't want paying.

Humbug.

So if Scrooge is hiring staff this Christmas in Hong Kong, how much will he have to shell out for them?

We spoke to a respected Hong Kong recruitment consultant, who prefers to remain anonymous. His/her Christmas prayer is: "It hasn't been a very active market this autumn and winter. My Christmas letter to Father Christmas is that hedge funds get above high water marks and start expanding in 2010."

So what are his/her current estimates for salary ranges?

Analysts: HK$80,000 to HK$140,000 a month plus bonus depending on fund performance.

Operations: The same as analysts and possibly more, but with a lower bonus.

Chief Operating Officer: HK$350,000 a month (Includes possible bonus).

Secretary: HK$40,000 to HK$50,000 a month, with a bonus of up to12 months' salary.

Portfolio manager: The sky's the limit. Mid-eight figures per year is open knowledge in Hong Kong.

Scrooge gave the Cratchit family a turkey. The kid lived.

In part 2 of this series this week: legal and ongoing bureaucratic costs.