CommSec Under Scathing Attack
November 08 2005 - Australasian Investment Review Ė (AIR)
Philip of Turramurra is a very unhappy camper. So incensed was he with his recent treatment by CommSec that he felt obliged to fire off a letter of complaint to Commonwealth Bank (CBA) client relations, and CC it to various media establishments including the Sydney Morning Herald, Radio 2GB and AIR.
"I write to advise you that my muted, but continual complaints to Comsec [sic] since the October long weekend when they introduced a new computer system have been dealt with in a lackadaisical and haphazard fashion, to such an extent that while I currently hold shares in ANZ, WBC and Macquarie, I wouldnít dream of buying shares in CBA unless they fall 10%."
The upshot is that since CommSec introduced the new computer system, Philipís balance has been bouncing around of its own accord Ė in either debit or credit Ė without him doing anything.
This could be written off as a sad joke, but on one occasion Philip was mysteriously credited with $300 in his options account and then asked for a margin call of $20,000, despite prices being unmoved.
CommSecís response was for the back office to simply blame the front office. A direct complaint was met with a phone call that Philip describes as "patronizing and ingratiating and failed to respond to any of my issues".
A promised follow-up phone call, set down specifically to between 9-10am on Friday 28th, never came. The irony here is that the computer system in question was installed by the same IT outsourcing company (EDS Australia) which serviced the customs authority recently, only to bring the country to a stevedoring standstill and threaten bankruptcy for many a small importer. Even more ironically, Philip used to work for EDS. "I wouldnít allow them near my childrenís preschool computer system", says Philip.
Philip, clearly a frequenter of stock traderís chatrooms, alleges the scuttlebutt over the net is that CommSec have suffered a major option position blow-out in the recent market correction which could rival that of NABís forex debacle and cost CBA 3.2% in earnings. (AIR is unaware of such a position). This doesnít, of course, explain why the computer doesnít work, but itís a good way to vent oneís spleen.
Nevertheless, Philip has written his letter as "I am aware that I have a civic responsibility to ensure that when a major bank introduces software that confuses a credit with a debit to warn the widest possible audience of the problem."