After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.

There was some big news this week that got overshadowed by COVID and Trump.

You may have missed it but it caught my eye, as it shows how times have changed.

I read this week about the new actor who is playing James Bond, in the movie titled ‘No Time to Die’ which is scheduled for release in April 2021. Kind of.

I say “kind of” because British born actor Lashana Lynch, whose Jamaican mother and grandmother moved to the UK in 1980s to begin a new life, will technically play Agent 007. I’ll leave it to the Twitterati to go to war with each other over what that means.

For the purposes of this column, Lynch was born in 1987, which makes her 60 years younger than the recently departed Sean Connery, who played his first role as James Bond in 1962, in the aptly named ‘Dr No’.

So, in 2021, James Bond becomes Jane Bond and the money people behind the franchise believe that this will help keep the interest in 007 movies alive, as they move it along with the times.

Here is an original sketch of how Ian Fleming, the inventor of the character, saw James Bond in 1953:

James Bond
Actual James Bond, by Ian Fleming

And here is an image of 007 in 2021:

Lashana-Lynch
Lashana Lynch as Bond- er, 007. Picture: Universal Pictures

The 007 movie franchise is estimated to be worth US$19 billion and it is one of the highest valued media franchises of all time. The movies themselves have so far grossed over US$7 billion, so this move is not some fly-by-night scheme but a well thought out strategy to keep those dollars rolling in.

But even if it’s more about the money than any form of social conscience, it is good to see. Only 68 years to change from a male role to a female role!

However, nothing compared to the suffering Mary Frances Heaton endured to become recognised as being wronged for just being a woman.

This week a blue memorial plaque was placed outside this former asylum where she was locked up for 41 years:

Parklands Manor, formerly the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Picture: Mike Kirby, CC BY-SA 2.0

In 1837, Mary was declared by a trio of male judges, to be insane, simply because she was a woman who dared to publicly shame a pillar of male society, namely, her Vicar. She said that he was a liar and a cheat (which was true).

As this story points out, 187 years ago it was considered normal to put women into asylums just because they dared to speak up against and challenge male authority.

Then in 1973, (seven years before I started broking), the London Stock Exchange allowed 10 women to become members. It took 200 years to get to that point.

We’re getting there. In 1984, Anita Roddick founded The Body Shop, and became the first female to ever IPO a business on the London Stock Exchange. When asked how she achieved all of this, she replied:

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”

Over the next eight years, The Body Shop shares increased by over 10,000%.

Australia’s mining sector has some way to go. Barely a month ago, at the ‘Diggers and Dealers’ conference in Kalgoorlie, the CEO of Fortescue Metals Group pointed out that there were more presenters named Peter than there were female presenters.

In 2008, Norway passed a law that requires all publicly listed company boards to be 40% female, though I couldn’t find out how they would class a transgender or a cross-dresser.

Back here in Oz, the trendy market darling (am I allowed to say that?) Afterpay (ASX: APT), have two female board members out of seven places.

Can’t wait to see if Q can manage to adapt 007’s tool kit, so we can have poisoned tipped nail files and hairdryers that can not only create a beautiful curl but also fire 15 rounds a second.

That would leave any enemy agent shaken, but not stirred.

The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at thesecretbroker@stockhead.com.au.

Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.

*Note – if you visit Mary Frances Heaton’s Wikipedia page, there’s a link to the words “blue plaque” in the line which notes the commemoration. Guess what picture it links to?