Commonwealth Securities

Commonwealth Securities
Commonwealth Securities
Type Subsidiary
Traded as ASXCBA
Industry Financial Services
Founded Sydney, New South Wales (1995)
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Area served Australia
New Zealand
Key people Stephen Karpin, General Executive Manager

Commonwealth Securities, also known as CommSec or ComSec, is Australia's largest discount stockbroking firm operated by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, one of Australia's top four banks.

The subsidiary has been highly successful as a discount broker by attracting many so called "mums and dads" (retail) investors. It offers a telephone based brokerage service and advisory service, though its Internet trading platform constitutes the vast majority of its business.[1]



The brokerage arm started operations in 1995 and launched its share trading website in 1997.[2][3]

CommSec initially offered only Australian equities trades, but has since expanded into derivative products, international equities, managed funds, Self Managed Super Fund administration, Contracts-For-Difference (CFDs), margin lending and Short-term deposits. The firm's large retail customer base has also allowed it to successfully market a number of initial public offering (IPO) fund raisings.

In 2008 CommSec became the first Australian brokerage firm to offer a brokerage website specifically designed for a portable-device.[4] It created CommSec iPhone Edition for the Apple iPhone, the first home-grown iPhone application in Australia.


CommSec's primary channel for customers is its website. The website provides static information that can be refreshed for updates on the frequently changing markets. It offers a comprehensive suite of features including trades, watchlists, funds management, portfolios, holdings management, financial & contract details, cash management, chatrooms and news & research.

CommSec's frequent equities, CFDs and options traders use the realtime trading platform CommSecIRESS. It is a web-based solution, developed by IRESS Market Technology (ASXIRE) and based on the Java runtime environment. This platform combines the majority of the features of the website, while adding more advanced features and streaming live data from the Australian Securities Exchange.

CommSec also offers phone-based trading through its call-centre, advisory service and the automated voice recognition platform PhoneTrader (formerly Voice Broker).

In 2008 the broker disbanded its Share Shops (face-to-face operations) closing the front in the Commonwealth Bank branch in Pitt St, Sydney, following the earlier closure of the Melbourne Share Shop on Collins St.

Mergers and Acquisitions

CommSec has retained and increased its significant marketshare in retail broking through both CBA's acquisition of other banks and its own acquisition of other broking firms.[5] CommSec now performs broking operations for Colonial First State,[6] TD Waterhouse,[7] AOT,[8][9] Neville Ward Direct,[10][11] Auckland Savings Bank (ASB),[12] and IWL (Westpac Broking, Sanford and Avcol).[13] The addition of IWL gave CommSec significant market share in wholesale broking to compliment its existing retail presence.[14]

Cash Management

In 2008 CommSec diversified into the short term deposit sector with the introduction of its Cash Management product.[15] The product consists of two distinct accounts the CommSec Cash Account (CCA) and the CommSec Investment Account (CIA). The CCA is designed to both be the source of funds for stock trading and also an everyday transaction account, with a linked debit MasterCard. The CIA is designed as a high interest cash deposit distinguished by its lack of tiers and that cash can only be transferred to and from the CCA.


  1. ^ Big is beautiful for online brokers
  2. ^ Site Description for
  3. ^ Investment in 64-bit Itanium 2 Servers pays returns for CommSec
  4. ^ CommSec launces iPhone trading app
  5. ^ CommSec snaps up direct funds firm
  6. ^ Commonwealth Bank takes over Colonial Mutual
  7. ^ TD Bank selling Australian discount brokerage operations
  8. ^ AOT swallowed by CBA
  10. ^ Commonwealth Securities Limited (Commsec) - acquisition of Neville Ward Direct Pty Limited
  11. ^ Neville Ward Direct and CommSec — two strong teams united
  12. ^ Welcome to the ASB Bank of New Zealand
  13. ^ CommSec takes over Sanford clients
  14. ^ Commsec unfazed in IWL purchase
  15. ^ Better cash management from CommSec
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