Each year CANSTAR researches and rates the online share trading platforms available for Australian investors. This year we have looked at 42 online share trading platforms from 17 institutions, and CommSec has achieved a 5 star rating for Outstanding value.
CANSTAR caught up with Brian Phelps, General Manager CommSec Retail Distribution, to find out what investors are looking for and what innovations are on the way.
Q: How has investor online behaviour changed over the past few years – are investors now expecting greater online functionality than in the past?
A: Investor behaviour and expectations have definitely changed in the past few years. CommSec has seen this in the continuing pick-up of trading on our mobile app this year, as well as usage of app features like the stock watchlist notifications and market news, which have seen a huge growth in the last 12 months. There is a continuing interest in these features because they provide a great range of functionality for those customers who want to be able to interact with the market wherever they are. According to Investment Trends 2nd Half 2015 Online Broking Report, 30% of new investors with CommSec chose us for our mobile app, compared to an industry average of 17 per cent.
Q: What are some of the most popular online resources on your platform that your clients use?
A: The watchlist feature is certainly our most popular, with the majority of our active traders using this function. Our CommSec Community online forum has grown from a few hundred users since its launch three years ago to 10 per cent of our active customers today. Community allows people who are new to investing, or have limited experience, to discover ideas and insights from more experienced investors. Our more seasoned investor members can use it to discuss strategies, share ideas and gauge stock sentiment.
Q: In terms of functionality, what process do you use to determine what your customers want now as well as predict what they may want in the near future?
A: We regularly engage with customers to understand their needs including testing new concepts and solutions with them within CBA’s Innovation lab. We use customer centric design principles to ensure we’re delivering customer centric solutions. We’re always listening to customer feedback including through ongoing surveys so we can respond to our customer’s needs.
We also monitor trends in the market to ensure we can adapt and quickly respond to market changes. We receive as many as 15,000 calls per week in CommSec. These interactions remain an excellent source of feedback direct from the customer. We collate and act on this feedback weekly.
Q: Any upcoming or recent improvements or innovations that you would like to highlight?
A: Our mobile app has been a great innovation, but we’re always innovating to better serve the needs of our customers. In February we launched a widget that allows our members to see the current market value of their watchlist stocks on their mobile home screen, so they don’t have to log in to the CommSec app when they only have a few seconds to see how their stocks are going throughout the day. At the moment we are also planning to add more content to our site to help new traders better understand how the market works, how to trade and give them more access to sound investing advice.
CANSTAR congratulates CommSec on its Outstanding Value achievement. You can read the CANSTAR Online Share Trading report here.