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  • Writer's pictureDonnelle Brooks

What does CHESS Sponsored mean?

If you have started your investing journey, you may have heard or seen the acronym CHESS. You may even own some CHESS Sponsored shares and have no idea what it means! In this article we will discuss CHESS Sponsored shares and why you should care.

What does CHESS stand for?

CHESS stands for "Clearing House Electronic Subregister System." It's an electronic system used by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to facilitate the clearing, settlement, and transfer of securities (such as shares) traded on the exchange. CHESS provides a secure and efficient way to manage ownership and transactions of securities in the Australian market. It helps maintain accurate records of share ownership, simplifies the process of buying and selling shares, and enhances the transparency and reliability of the stock market.

What defines CHESS sponsored shares?

CHESS sponsored shares are shares that are held within the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). When shares are CHESS sponsored, they are registered electronically and held in the CHESS system, which provides a secure and efficient way to manage and record ownership of securities, such as shares. Here are the defining characteristics of CHESS sponsored shares:

Electronic Registration

CHESS sponsored shares are registered electronically within the CHESS system. This means that ownership and transaction information for these shares are stored and maintained electronically.

Holding Identification Number (HIN)

Each CHESS sponsored share is allocated a unique Holding Identification Number (HIN) by the stockbroker or brokerage firm through which the shares are held. The HIN serves as a unique identifier for the specific holding of shares within the CHESS system.

Broker Involvement

To hold CHESS sponsored shares, investors need to go through a stockbroker or brokerage firm that is connected to the CHESS system. The broker facilitates the registration, transfer, and management of these shares on behalf of the investor.

Simplified Transactions

Holding shares through the CHESS system simplifies the process of buying, selling, and transferring shares. Transactions can be executed more efficiently and with greater transparency due to the electronic nature of the system.

Reduced Paperwork

Since the shares are electronically registered, there is less reliance on physical paper certificates for proof of ownership. This reduces paperwork and the risk of lost or damaged certificates.

Ownership Records

The CHESS system maintains accurate and up-to-date records of share ownership. This helps prevent errors and discrepancies in ownership information.


The CHESS system facilitates the settlement of share transactions, ensuring that ownership is transferred smoothly and securely between buyers and sellers.

Enhanced Security

The electronic nature of the CHESS system enhances the security and integrity of share ownership records. It reduces the risk of fraud and unauthorized transfers.

Overall, CHESS sponsored shares provide a modern and efficient way to hold and manage shares within the Australian stock market. The system streamlines processes, enhances transparency, and offers a higher level of security compared to traditional paper-based methods of share ownership.

How important is CHESS sponsored shares?

CHESS sponsored shares play a significant role in the Australian securities market, offering several important benefits to investors, brokers, and the overall functioning of the market. Here are some reasons why CHESS sponsored shares are important:


CHESS sponsored shares streamline the process of buying, selling, and transferring shares. Transactions can be executed quickly and with minimal paperwork, making it easier for investors to manage their investments.


The electronic nature of CHESS sponsored shares enhances the security of share ownership records. This reduces the risk of fraud, unauthorized transfers, and loss of physical share certificates.


The system maintains accurate and up-to-date records of share ownership. This reduces the likelihood of errors and discrepancies in ownership information.


CHESS sponsored shares enhance transparency in the market. Investors can easily access information about their holdings and transactions, leading to greater confidence in the integrity of the market.

Simplified Administration

Investors do not need to worry about managing physical share certificates or dealing with paper-based processes. This simplifies administrative tasks related to share ownership.

Settlement Efficiency

CHESS sponsored shares facilitate smoother settlement processes for share transactions. This helps reduce settlement risks and ensures that ownership changes are accurately recorded.

Reduced Costs

The efficiency of CHESS sponsored shares can lead to cost savings for both investors and brokerage firms. Faster and more streamlined processes can result in lower transaction costs.

Brokerage Services

Brokers play a crucial role in facilitating CHESS sponsored shares. This fosters a strong relationship between investors and brokerage firms, supporting a healthy financial ecosystem.

Market Confidence

The use of a sophisticated electronic system like CHESS can enhance overall market confidence, attracting both domestic and international investors.

Regulatory Compliance

The electronic record-keeping and reporting mechanisms inherent to CHESS sponsored shares assist in meeting regulatory requirements and reporting obligations.


The system can adapt to changing market needs and technology advancements, ensuring that it remains relevant and efficient in an evolving financial landscape.

In summary, CHESS sponsored shares are important because they provide a modern, secure, and efficient way to manage share ownership within the Australian securities market. The system's benefits extend to investors, brokerage firms, regulators, and the overall stability of the market.

What are the benefits of CHESS Sponsored shares?

CHESS sponsored shares offer a range of compelling benefits that enhance the efficiency, security, and transparency of share ownership in the Australian securities market. These benefits stem from the electronic nature of the system, which simplifies the process of buying, selling, and transferring shares. With unique Holding Identification Numbers (HINs) assigned to each holding, investors can easily manage their portfolios through brokerage firms connected to the CHESS system. This streamlined approach reduces paperwork, enhances accuracy, and minimizes settlement risks. Additionally, the system's transparency empowers investors with instant access to their holdings and transactions, fostering market confidence. By digitizing share ownership records, CHESS sponsored shares bolster security, safeguarding against fraud and unauthorized transfers. Ultimately, these benefits collectively contribute to a more efficient, secure, and modernized share ownership experience for investors and market participants alike.

Are there any downsides to CHESS Sponsored shares?

While CHESS sponsored shares offer numerous advantages in terms of efficiency, security, and transparency, there are also some potential downsides to consider. One concern is the potential for technological issues or system outages that could temporarily disrupt access to share ownership information or transaction processing. Additionally, reliance on electronic systems might pose challenges for individuals who are less technologically inclined or prefer traditional paper-based processes. Moreover, the centralization of share ownership records within the CHESS system could potentially make them vulnerable to cyber threats, although robust security measures are typically in place. It's also important to note that while CHESS sponsored shares streamline administrative tasks, they might reduce the tactile and tangible connection that some investors find in physically holding share certificates. As with any system, there's a need for ongoing maintenance, updates, and user education to mitigate these potential downsides and ensure the system's continued effectiveness.

CHESS Sponsored vs Issuer Sponsored Shares

CHESS sponsored and issuer sponsored are two distinct methods of holding shares in the Australian securities market. CHESS sponsored shares involve electronic registration within the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). They offer benefits such as efficient transactions, secure ownership records, and streamlined settlement processes. On the other hand, issuer sponsored shares are held directly with the company whose shares are being owned. While they might provide more direct communication with the company and potentially fewer intermediaries, issuer sponsored shares can be subject to longer settlement times and administrative complexities. Investors choosing between the two methods should weigh factors like convenience, administrative preference, and the level of interaction desired with intermediaries and the issuing company.

CHESS Sponsored vs Custodian

CHESS Sponsored shares and custodian arrangements are two distinct methods of holding and managing securities within the financial landscape. CHESS Sponsored shares involve electronic registration of shares through the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS), enhancing efficiency, security, and transparency in the Australian securities market. In contrast, custodian arrangements involve a third-party institution, known as a custodian, holding and safeguarding securities on behalf of investors. While CHESS Sponsored shares offer direct ownership and control, custodian arrangements provide an added layer of security and professional management, especially for international investments or complex portfolios. Investors choosing CHESS Sponsored shares benefit from simplified transactions and reduced paperwork, whereas custodian services offer expert asset protection and tailored reporting. Each approach caters to different investor needs, with CHESS Sponsored shares prioritizing autonomy and streamlined processes, while custodian arrangements emphasize professional oversight and risk mitigation.

Why did I receive a letter from CHESS ASX?

Receiving a letter from CHESS ASX (Australian Securities Exchange) could have various reasons, as the exchange communicates with investors and market participants for a range of purposes. Some common reasons for receiving a letter from CHESS ASX might include:

Account Information

The letter could pertain to your account details, such as changes in account status, updates on holdings, or information about your CHESS-sponsored shares.

Corporate Actions

CHESS ASX might inform you about corporate actions affecting the securities you hold, such as dividend payments, stock splits, mergers, or other events that require your attention or decision.

Regulatory Notices

You might receive a letter if there are regulatory changes, compliance requirements, or updates that affect your holdings or trading activities.

Security Notices

If there's a need for security updates, data breaches, or potential threats to your holdings, CHESS ASX might communicate with you to ensure you're aware of and taking necessary precautions.

Market Updates

The letter might include general market updates, news, or educational materials related to investing or trading.

Account Management

If you have initiated changes to your account, holdings, or contact information, CHESS ASX might confirm those changes through a letter.

Confirmation of Transactions

You might receive a letter as a confirmation of a recent transaction or transfer of securities.

Instructions or Requests

CHESS ASX could provide instructions or requests related to administrative tasks, such as updating personal details or responding to specific queries.

Educational Material

The letter might include educational content about the stock market, investment strategies, or changes in regulations that could impact your investments.

Feedback or Surveys

CHESS ASX might seek feedback on its services or request you to participate in surveys to improve its offerings.

It's essential to carefully read any letter from CHESS ASX to understand its purpose and follow any instructions provided. If you're uncertain about the content or the reason for receiving the letter, consider reaching out to the contact information provided in the letter or your brokerage firm for clarification. If you don't like all the letters, sign up for electronic communications instead.

How do I check my CHESS holdings?

To check your CHESS holdings, you can typically do so through the online platform of your stockbroker or brokerage firm. So if you bought your shares through Commsec, check them via Commsec. Log in to your brokerage account using your credentials, and navigate to the section that provides access to your portfolio or holdings. Within this section, you should be able to view a list of securities you own, including shares and other assets. This information is often organized by security name, quantity held, and current market value. Additionally, you might find details about any recent transactions, dividends, or corporate actions related to your holdings. This online access offers a convenient way to monitor and manage your CHESS-sponsored shares and stay updated on your investment portfolio's performance. If you encounter any difficulties or have questions about accessing your CHESS holdings, don't hesitate to reach out to your brokerage's customer support for assistance.

The Bottom Line

CHESS sponsored shares hold significant importance within the Australian securities market by revolutionizing the way share ownership is managed. These electronically registered shares, facilitated by the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS), offer a streamlined, secure, and efficient framework for investors. They ensure accurate record-keeping of ownership, simplify transactions, and reduce paperwork, enhancing market transparency and confidence. CHESS sponsored shares bolster the efficiency of buying, selling, and transferring shares, fostering smoother settlement processes and reducing operational risks. With unique Holding Identification Numbers (HINs) assigned by brokers, these shares promote individual ownership while minimizing the reliance on physical certificates. Overall, CHESS sponsored shares play a pivotal role in modernizing share management, safeguarding investments, and maintaining the integrity of the Australian securities market.

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