A hilarious open letter to Colonial First State



Dear Ms Elkins,

I have recently received my quarterly iQ pamphlet/magazine, with your picture and accompanying letter as the new Executive General Manager of Colonial First State.




I went to the company website and read the announcement of your appointment made by Commonwealth Bank’s Group Executive Wealth Management, Annabel Spring . And I look forward to reading the article by Colonial’s  Senior Analyst, Belinda Allen.

Given your role, and theirs, I am a bit bemused. 

Not so much about the article covering pages 6 and 7:  “It’s all about style” - how to work out the best personal investment strategies.

That’s fair enough as a topic.

But what about  the broad banner illustration that runs down the side of each page?

Showing... ties. Rows and rows and rows of men’s ties. 

Each carefully furled in its little pigeon hole. Blue ties, red ties, striped ties, dotted ties, even ties with cute little animals on them.

But I don’t wear a tie. Nor, I suspect do you, Annabel, or Belinda.

So what then am I supposed to make of choosing an investment style? The implication of the illustration, of course, is that investors are men and their personal financial style  - nattily masculine.

I bet that’s not right. I bet Colonial has lots of women investors. Maybe the division isn’t 50/50, but I would guess there is a substantial cohort of women, and in numbers that are growing each and every year.

So why would we assume that their “ investing style” is best demonstrated by a necktie?  Have you ever illustrated advice in iQ with pictures of nothing but dresses? I would suppose not...  because you might suspect that it would put off the blokes.

Mind you, the article suggests that in order to find my personal investing style I speak to my financial adviser. I will take that good advice.

But she doesn’t wear a tie either.

I did want to send you this note personally, but my email requesting your email address was answered by a fellow who is an Advisor/Employer Services Representative. He advised me I should send in my letter and it would be directed to the “relevant department”. But I really wanted to raise this matter with you, especially given your personal note in iQ.

I wish you good luck in what is clearly a very difficult and significant job.  Superannuation is important to us all.


Jebby Phillips


  • Well said, Jebby. As an adviser in a male-dominated industry, I see this attitude all the time, and there are worse offenders than Colonial First State. My client base is about 20% men, maybe 10% women, and the rest couples, but half the members of the couples (apart from the odd gay couple) are of course, women, and they take just as keen an interest in what we do together as do the men.

    Bah, humbug
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 6:50AM
    • Not to mention that of those couples it the the female half that is likely to end up living the longest.

      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 10:17AM
  • The tie is the only item of clothing worn almost exclusively in a business setting. A couple of times a year, men may wear them to weddings and things, but otherwise, millions wear them daily for business.
    By showing a tie, it implies "business" which is the ad's theme.
    Can you think of any other item of clothing that does the same? A skirt? No, they're worn everywhere. A jacket? No, same. A pair of shoes? Pretty sure we wear them outside business dealings too. See the pattern?

    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 9:28AM
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