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What are the best CHESS-sponsored brokers?

When it comes to share ownership in Australia, you have two main options. Find out what CHESS sponsorship is and why you could consider it.

Best CHESS sponsored share trading platforms

With all the share trading platforms on the market, finding the right broker can be difficult.

But in Australia, there's an additional consideration of whether to choose CHESS or a custody model.

If you are considering signing up to a broker, Finder, using our proprietary algorithm, has come up with a list of CHESS-sponsored brokers worth considering.

What is CHESS sponsorship?

CHESS or Clearing House Electronic Subregister System is used by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to keep a record of shareholdings and manage the settlement of share transactions. CHESS is a fancy way of saying a computer system that tracks who owns a share.

If you trade with a CHESS-sponsored broker, it means the ASX has a record of your buying and selling activities.

How we selected the best CHESS-sponsored brokers

We use our proprietary algorithm in order to give each trading platform a score.

Set up by Finder's data scientists and investment experts, our algorithm takes into account broker fees, trading tools, educational resources and the list of available stock markets on each platform.

Our methodology to select the best CHESS-sponsored brokers rated platforms on the following features:

  • Availability of ASX CHESS-sponsored equities (Y/N filter)
  • Availability of shares, ETFs, IPOs and mFunds
  • Order types offered including market order, stop loss and other conditional orders
  • Research tools including broker ratings, PE ratios, dividend tracking and tax reporting features
  • Brokerage fees for Australian shares and ETFs
  • Platform fees including withdrawal fees and inactivity fees
  • Availability on desktop and mobile
  • Average user rating

Important: Bear in mind, there's no trading platform that's best for everyone as all our needs are different. What's best for you might not be best for someone else. However we hope this guide can help you to narrow down your options, regardless of your trading style or level of experience. If you're looking for more details, see our full methodology here.

Our top pick for best CHESS-sponsored broker:

CMC Markets Invest logo
5/5 ★★★★★
Go to site Read review
Capital at risk
$0 brokerage for global stocks
$0 brokerage on ASX buy orders
Sophisticated research tools
Our top pick for a CHESS-sponsored broker is CMC Markets. In fact, it recently took out our award for best overall trading platform. CMC offers clients a range of financial options for less. For those looking to trade CHESS-sponsored shares, they offer free brokerage on trades under $1,000.
  • $0 brokerage on ASX trades under $1,000.
  • Comprehensive analysis tools for Australian equities.
  • Access the Cboe and SSX exchanges.
  • Hefty phone brokerage fees
  • Higher fees if you trade in some countries.
Brokerage fees:
AU stocks: $0 brokerage (for buy orders up to $1,000) and $11 or 0.10% (whichever is greater) for all other buy and sell orders.
US stocks: US$0
UK stocks: £0

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs: $0 brokerage for trades up to $1,000 (applied to the first buy order per ETF per day). $11 fee for trades up to $10,000. $15 fee for trades equal to or greater than $15,000.

ASX: $33/contract
US: Not available
Other markets available: Details here

Inactivity fee: $0

Currency conversion fee: 0.60% of trade value

Other top CHESS-sponsored brokers:

Selfwealth (Basic account) logo
4/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
Flat $9.50 brokerage fee per trade
No inactivity fee or subscription fee on basic account
Buy CHESS-sponsored Australian shares and US shares
Selfwealth is a low-cost broker that runs off a flat-fee model. This makes it incredibly appealing to those trading larger amounts of money. But the broker goes beyond just flat fees, offering investors a number of features including copy trading and stock analysis tools to help them get ahead.
  • Low brokerage fees
  • Copy trading accounts
  • Strong stock analysis tools
  • Limited trading options
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks: $9.50 flat fee
US stocks: US$9.50 flat fee
Other markets available: Details here
Inactivity fee: $0
Currency conversion fee: 60 bps of trade value

CommSec Share Trading Account logo
4/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
Research tools available
Australian shares from $5 per trade
Get stock analysis and ratings
CommSec is arguably the best-known share trading platform in Australia. It is the benchmark when it comes to a number of features, including educational resources, technical analysis tools, built-in broker recommendations and, of course, CHESS-sponsored shares.
  • Strong news and research ideas
  • User-friendly, especially for mobile
  • Data and monitoring tools
  • No inactivity fees on Australian holdings
  • Not the cheapest broker around for global stocks
  • No live chat support
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks: $5.00 (up to $1,000 trade value); $10.00 (over $1,000 up to $3,000); $19.95 (over $3,000 up to $10,000); $29.95 (over $10,000 up to $25,000); 0.12% (over $25,000)
US stocks: US$5.00 or 0.12% (whichever is greater)
UK stocks: GBP£12.00 or 0.40% (whichever is greater)
Inactivity fee: $0
Currency conversion fee: 0.55% of trade value

HSBC Online Share Trading logo
3/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
Quality research tools
CHESS-sponsored stocks
HSBC Invest offers a high quality trading platform for CHESS sponsored shares with plenty of research tools to keep you interested, including broker ratings, dividend search tools, technical analysis charts and a news feed.
  • Offers ASX stocks, ETFs and mFunds, ASX options available, High quality research tools
  • No global stocks, Brokerage fees higher than others, No fractional stocks
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks: $19.95 per trade (up to $20,000); 0.11% for trades over $20,000
US stocks: Not available
UK stocks: Not available
ASX: $30
US: Not available
Inactivity fee: $0

Westpac Online Investing Account logo
4/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
Trusted major bank
Global stocks
Research tools
You can trade ASX CHESS sponsored shares as well as global stocks using the Westpac Share Trading account. Great quality research tools and expert analysis specifically honed for Australian equities make Westpac a top contender for ASX traders.
  • Trade Australian and global shares, ESG ratings available, Good range of research tools
  • Brokerage fees higher than others, No auto-invest feature, No fractional stocks
  • High minimum investment of $500
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks: $19.95 or 0.11% of trade value, whichever is greater
US stocks: US$19.95 for trades up to US$5,000; US$29.95 for trades up to US$10,000; 0.31% for trades above US$10,000
Other markets: Details here
Inactivity fee: $0
Currency conversion fee: 0.60% of trade value

Stake Share Trading logo
4/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
$3 brokerage fee per trade
No monthly fees for basic account
Buy and sell US stocks and ETFs
Stake is the cheapest broker on the market for those investing in ASX CHESS stocks and ETFs, charging just $3 brokerage per trade. As such, it's no surprise it makes our list. Better still, if you refer 3 friends, you can actually get free brokerage on ASX trades for a year.
  • User-friendly options
  • Cheap brokerage
  • Refer-a-friend bonus
  • Offers both ASX and US stocks
  • Having to pay for advanced tools through Stake Black
  • Fewer features than others
Brokerage fees:
AU stocks: $3
US stocks: US$3
Other markets: Details here

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs: $3

Inactivity fee: $0

Currency conversion fee: 70 pips (US$0.70 for every AUD$100 exchanged)

What are HIN and CHESS?

If you have a CHESS-sponsored broker, you'll also have a HIN with it.

That is because in order to register shares in your name, the CHESS-sponsored broker must issue a Holder Identification Number (HIN).

Think of a banking account.

It is remarkably similar to this.

If you decide to change brokers, this HIN will follow you around as long as the next broker you join is also CHESS sponsored.

Custodial share trading model

When you sign up to a broker, they'll either run off a CHESS-sponsored or custodian model.

A custodian model basically means the custodian is the legal owner of the shares. This means that the broker owns the shares, not you. You are still a beneficial owner though, meaning you get the same dividends and capital gains. You just don't have the voting rights of CHESS shareholders.

The upside for this model is it is usually cheaper on fees.

The downside of a custodian model is that you have less direct control over your investment and less access to your holdings. Although it is worth pointing out that the entire US system works off a custody model.

Pros and cons of CHESS-sponsored shares


Let's start out with the good.

Direct ownership. With a CHESS-sponsored system lodged with the ASX, you're the legal owner of the shares because of your HIN.

Your broker or trading platform simply acts as a middleman between you and the exchange.

This means, if the broker happens to go under, your share ownership and the holdings themselves won't be impacted. You can simply shift your holdings over to another platform to continue trading.

Voting rights on shares. Another handy reason to go with CHESS-sponsored shares is that you'll be offered voting rights. As a company owner, you have the right to attend general meetings and to make decisions on directors' remunerations and other key factors that drive business performance. On the other hand, custodial brokers decide whether they wish to pass voting rights onto you or not.

Easier to switch brokers. If you decide to switch brokers, having your shares with a HIN can be incredibly handy. It typically means you'll just need to complete a 2-page online form and your shares will be sent, usually within a week. A custodian broker usually takes a little bit longer to sort out.

Did you know: Recent Finder research found that the average share trader could save approximately $1,048 in brokerage fees a year by switching to a more suitable online broker (calculated on 7 trades per month of $1,000). You might even save money by having more than 1 platform, especially if you are investing in both Australia and internationally.


Of course, there are some downsides to choosing a CHESS-sponsored model.

Lacks access to international markets. If you're looking to invest around the world, then the CHESS model won't help you since it is an Australian system. In fact, most of the world's largest share markets, including the US, run off a custodial model.

Higher fees. Now this will vary greatly depending on who you actually sign up with, but custodian models can mean cheaper fees for investors. This is one of the major reasons why investors choose them over CHESS sponsorship.

Fractional shares. Under a custodian share model, you can buy and sell fractions of shares, rather than a whole share. This can help you start out sooner especially when you're buying stocks that are hundreds of dollars per share.

Less paperwork. Given you aren't the holder of the shares, the custodian broker will do the administration on your behalf.

If you are unconvinced, here's a list of all brokers

1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Standard brokerage fee Inactivity fee Asset class
Finder AwardExclusive
US$10 per month if there’s been no log-in for 12 months
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
CFD service. Capital at risk.
Exclusive: Get 12 months of investment tracking app Delta PRO for free when you fund your eToro account (T&Cs apply).
Join the world’s biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and currencies from the one account.
IG Share Trading
Finder Award
IG Share Trading
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, UK shares, ETFs
$0 brokerage for US and global shares plus get an active trader discount of $5 commission on Australian shares.
Enjoy some of the lowest brokerage fees on the market when trading Australian and international shares, plus get access to 24-hour customer support.
Moomoo Share Trading
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Finder exclusive: Get an additional 30 days on top of the regular brokerage-free period for new accounts (see link for details). T&Cs apply.
Trade shares on the ASX, the US markets and buy ETFs with Moomoo. Plus join a community over 18 million investors.
CMC Markets Invest
Finder Award
CMC Markets Invest
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, mFunds, ETFs
Special offer: Transfer your international stocks to CMC Invest and receive $100 credit on your trading account until Nov 30, 2023 (T&Cs apply).
Trade up to 35,000 products, including shares, ETFs and managed funds, plus access up to 15 major global and Australian stock exchanges. Plus, buy Aussie shares for $0 brokerage up to $1,000. (Limited to one buy order per stock per trading day).
ASX shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Fund your new account with $500 and place 1 trade to get $100 in free rewards until November 30, 2023. Plus, earn up to 5.2% p.a. interest on your US cash account (T&Cs apply).
Trade ASX and US stocks and US options, plus gain access to inbuilt news platforms and educational resources. You can also start trading for less with fractional shares.
Tiger Brokers
Tiger Brokers
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Finder exclusive: Get 15 commission-free trades on US or ASX equities for the first 180 days plus US$50 fractional shares when you deposit at least $500 within the first 7 days of account opening. Plus, all new customers get 1 free trade per month for the first 12 months (T&Cs apply).
Get one brokerage-free trade per month for the first 12 months for US or ASX markets. T&Cs apply.

Share trading platform news: November 2023

  • ETF provider Betashares has launched a $0 brokerage investment platform that lets you buy units in individual ASX-listed ETFs or auto-invest into ETF portfolios.
  • The criminal trial against Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the founder of disgraced crypto exchange FTX, starts in the first week of October. SBF is alleged to have defrauded customer funds for his own use in business operations and political donations.
  • Interactive Brokers Australia has been slapped with an $832,500 fine by ASIC for failing to identify suspicious trading activity by one of its clients.
  • Sharesies has introduced a new monthly fee structure of $5, $10 or $20 per month for unlimited trades up to a certain amount. Alternatively, you can still pay as you go.
  • CommSec has launched a new global trading platform that lowers its fees for US stocks to US$5 per trade.
  • Tiger Brokers has launched an AI-powered chat bot called TigerGPT. While the feature is still in beta mode, Tiger says the AI bot will be able to access live stock data and subscription-only investment data.
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involve substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances and obtain your own advice before making any trades.

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