Operating since 1995, CommSec (Commonwealth Securities Limited) is an online broker that has over 20 years’ experience in the online brokerage business. They are based in Sydney, Australia, and they primarily offer trading Australian and international stocks through their proprietary web and mobile trading platforms, with an intuitive interface, advanced charting tools, and fast trade placements.
CommSec Review, Pros & Cons
- Minimal entry requirement
- Chess-sponsored shares
- Access to international securities
- Multiple educational resources
- 7,000+ contract for difference markets
- No US clients, Australian clients only
- Few account funding options
- Difficult account opening process
- No MetaTrader platform
- Limited account currencies
In this detailed CommSec review, our online broker research team have covered some of the most important aspects for you to consider when choosing the best broker for your online trading needs.
CommSec is a Sydney-based online trading broker that offers trading in stocks listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and major international exchanges. Established more than 20 years ago, the broker is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. They offer a good number of proprietary trading tools through their web-based and mobile trading platforms.
In addition to stock trading, the broker also offers trading in stock derivatives, such as equity options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and stock CFDs, as well as warrants and fixed-income securities. They make it possible for investors to start trading with as low as a $50 minimum deposit. However, they do not offer their services to international clients.
Commonwealth Securities Limited (CommSec) is a wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. They are a market member of the Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) and Chi-X Australia — a clearing participant of ASX Clear Pty Limited and a settlement participant of ASX Settlement Pty Limited.
Being a subsidiary of one of the biggest banks in Australia offers them some level of trust among Australians, whilst they are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) — the agency that regulates financial market operators in Australia.
CommSec is based in Sydney, Australia and does not offer their services to international clients. They make it clear on their website that the information on their site is directed and available to and for the benefit of Australian residents only. So, if you are not living in Australia, even if you are a citizen, you usually cannot access their services.
If you are currently living overseas, you may be able to trade with the broker if you are CHESS sponsored with CommSec and have an Australian bank account linked for the settlement of your trades. Some restrictions apply to applicants from different jurisdictions depending on various legal and regulatory requirements.
Some CommSec broker features and products mentioned within this CommSec review may not be available to traders from specific countries due to legal restrictions.
CommSec has a web-based trading platform, as well as a mobile application of the platform:
The broker offers their proprietary web-based platform which has a user-friendly interface and provides prospective traders with a lot of helpful analytic and trading tools, with access to their own community forum, advanced real-time charting, stock screeners, trading limits, stock announcements, and many others. Interestingly, the web trading platform is compatible with all the popular web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox.
CommSec Mobile App
The mobile application is also as good, with most of the interesting features of the web version, such as the interactive and customizable charts, conditional orders, stock watchlist, and comparison charts. With the CommSec Mobile App, you can stay on top of the market and trade, whenever you like and wherever you are.
CommSec Trading Tools
CommSec offers a number of interesting tools to help traders stay on top of their game. Some of them include the CommSecIRESS Viewpoint, Stock Watchlists, CommSec Executive Series, Market Reports, Morningstar Premium Ratings, and Goldman Sachs Stock Recommendations.
This is an advanced tool offered by this broker to help traders monitor the latest market movements. Traders have to subscribe to the service to get the benefits, which include:
- Real-time streaming of market data and quote information for equities and derivatives
- Advanced charting with a range of indicators and drawing tools, plus historical data
- Fast, easy order placement or depth order highlighting
- Extensive market watch and alert capabilities, including market overviews
CommSec makes it possible for traders to research the markets and keep a list of stocks they are interested in by setting up custom watchlists.
CommSec Executive Series
From time to time, CommSec’s analysts interview top executives of the leading companies in Australia to offer traders insights into potential trading opportunities.
The broker’s expert team tries to keep traders up to date on what is going on in the markets through live share market news and reports, videos, stock prices, and trends.
Morningstar Premium Ratings
CommSec provides traders with Morningstar premium ratings for stocks in various sectors. Traders often find the rating helpful in choosing the stocks to trade.
Goldman Sachs Stock Recommendations
With CommSec, traders can get access to other cutting-edge research, like the Goldman Sachs stock recommendations.
CommSec has three major educational resource pages on their website:
Learn the Basics
This section introduces prospective traders to basic knowledge about investing and trading, which will kickstart them in their trading journey. The section is graded into three levels: investing basics, choosing investments, and investment management.
Insights and Education
This section helps you to develop your investing knowledge and skills with in-depth insights, strategies, and trading ideas. It covers topics like ‘How to manage margin loan risks’.
The broker has a big collection of recorded webinars that cover a range of trading ideas and strategies. Traders can see how professionals place and manage their trades.
CommSec offers trading in shares listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, which are more than 2000 stocks, and they readily offer traders margin loans to boost their portfolio and trading capacity. With CommSec, traders can also trade CFDs, warrants, fixed-income securities, and managed funds.
The broker also offers their traders access to about 25 biggest stock exchanges around the world, including the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, Tokyo Stock Exchange, and the London Stock Exchange. So, their clients have the opportunity to trade over 100 blue-chip companies in different parts of the world, as well as Exchange-Traded Options (ETOs) and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs).
To have access to these international securities, you will need to open a CommSec International Securities Trading Account.
CommSec Accounts & Fees
CommSec offers various account types, including the following:
- CommSec Share Trading Account: This account is for buying and selling Australian shares, ETFs, warrants, mini trading warrants, partially paid securities, and company options. Clients can fund the account through a cash account or a Commonwealth Direct Investment Account, though the brokers’ website says that a deposit is not needed to place a trade.
- CommSec Margin Lending Account: With this account, traders can have access to borrowed funds, which they can easily do via their mobile trading app.
- CommSec Options Account: This account enables customers to trade options. The account can be used in conjunction with other CommSec accounts.
- CommSec CFD Account: With the CFD account, you can trade more than 7,000 different CFDs, and you can start with as low as $10. There are many different markets you can trade with a CommSec CFD account including Australian shares CFDs, international share CFDs, global indexes, forward indices (futures), commodities, and foreign exchange CFDs
- CommSec International Securities Trading Account: This account gives a trader access to 25 international stock markets.
As broker fees can vary and change, there may be additional fees that are not listed in this CommSec review. It is imperative to ensure that you check and understand all of the latest information before you open a CommSec broker account for online trading.
CommSec provides a multichannel customer support service that includes email, phone, online chat, and an online contact form. They are available during Australian market hours to provide clients with immediate support during trading hours. You can also reach them via their social media handles on Twitter and YouTube.
CommSec Deposit & Withdrawal
With this broker, there are two options available for making payments:
- Linking your bank account: The recommended option is to link your Australian bank account to your trading account during your application. If you place a buy order, they will automatically direct-debit from your nominated bank account two business days after its execution.
- Using BPay: In addition to your nominated bank account for settlement, you can deposit funds for your buy trades via BPay. A clearance time of up to two (2) business days may apply, so it is important to organize payment early to ensure funds are clear and available on the settlement date, which is often on the second business day after your purchase order.
CommSec Account Opening
Opening an account with this broker may take a bit of your time. Once you click on the open account button, you will be asked to choose what you want to do.
After selecting the option you want, you will be asked a series of questions before taking you to where you will see the requirements for opening an account.
If you have the requirements and click on ‘continue’, you will then be taken to a page where you fill your details in batches.
CommSec is an Australian online stock brokerage firm with more than 20 years of experience in online trading services — offering stocks, ETFs, options, warrants, and fixed-income securities. The broker is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia — one of the top four banks in Australia. However, it does not readily offer its brokerage services to clients outside of Australia.
Trading complex instruments can come with a high risk. You should consider whether you understand how investments and trading work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing all of your money.