How did a minuscule financial software applications company, started in 1900, come to dominate the international legacy brokerage scene ? It seems strange that so many foreigners are registered – when plenty of brokers exist in their respective countries. In this Swissquote analysis I’ll help determine just how much trust you can place in the company, what are the real fees, can you actually trade crypto, is there a bank service, and which instruments are available.
Headquartered in Gland, Switzerland with offices in Zurich, Bern, Dubai, Malta, London, and Hong Kong, the Swiss investment bank specializes in the provision of online financial and trading services, notably stocks, options, funds, and futures. Swissquote is listed on the SIX Exchange since May 29, 2000, under the ticker symbol SQN and is regulated by the Swiss financial regulator FINMA. Its UK arm, is based in London and regulated by British financial regulator (FCA).
Swissquote was founded by Marc Bürki and Paolo Buzzi in 1990. They originally focused in client-side finance programs. However, some serious ambition & hard work would take the two creators much further. In 1997 the domain name Swissquote.ch was registered, enabling investors to access the prices of securities traded on the Swiss Exchange in real time & for free (note that the company has multiple sub domains for different regions – eg: “en.swissquote.com”). In May, 2000, the shares of Swissquote were floated in the SIX Swiss Exchange. In the same year, the company obtained their banking license.
Two acquisitions in 2010: the Zurich based online broker Tradejet AG, and Advanced Currency Markets AG. These acquisitions allowed the company to strengthen its position as a leader in online trading. The company secured its place in the international market when it acquired and merged with a company specializing in Forex trade, MIG Bank. The acquisition thrust Swissquote into the top ten online currency trading service providers.
Founders Marc Bürki and Paolo Buzzi are still involved in Swissquote. I really like how mark was once a mysterious ‘rocket science’ guy, working as a telecommunications specialist at the European Space Agency in The Netherlands prior to founding Swissquote. He gave it all up to co-found Swissquote and serve as its CEO. Paolo is the CTO of Swissquote, before which he was working as a software specialist and integration technical engineer at Rolm Systems in Santa Clara, USA.
Advantages of Using Swissquote
- Banking license & company listing on the stock exchange. This means better access to liquidity during market crashes (as I’ll show later in this Swissquote review), and that financial standing is publicly available.
- Comprehensive access to most markets and trading products. Being a legacy broker with excellent funding, it is easy to set up global trading floor representatives.
- Swiss regulator high level of investor protection. Clients also benefit from negative balance protection.
- Digitized Account opening (no post or paper docs) with no minimum account balance required.
- Credit and debit card deposits available. Deposits in multiple currencies, and no fees.
- One of the first legacy brokers to implement 2FA login (extra safe)
- Being a major European broker, their website is available in French, English, German, Greek, Czech, Spanish, and Italian. But also Arabic, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Super active on social media.
- They have a whopping 60 currency pairs. Many European forex traders love this.
- Multiple account types are available over 4 different trading platforms
- I love how, despite being a legacy broker, they offer up to 1:100 leverage for blood-thirsty CFD risk-takers
- Charting uses advanced HTML5 tech and is industry-leading.
- Highly reputed phone, live chat, & email support – available in major languages.
- I’ve often recommended the awesome “demo account” to my little brother who has no real money to trade with. Plenty of people get introduced to Swissquote via this route.
Disadvantages of using Swissquote
- I was disturbed to see my balance significantly dropping each time i opened/closed a position. I also dislike the $10.00 charge for withdrawing.
- I get frustrated with the poor search function and limited order types. As a day trader what’s worse than a complicated trading platform ?
- Fundamental research is limited, tho the subscription-based research has been applauded by many readers.
- If I’m looking to get a broad-sweeping range of asset classes, I often prefer using SaxoBank.
- No Swissquote inspection would be complete without stating the ongoing frustration when opening an account: users are required to get their address verification documents certified by a lawyer or public notary.
CNNmoney interview of Swissquote’s CEO Marc Buerki in 2018:
Trustworthiness of Swissquote
Established in 1996, Swissquote is no doubt one of the most trusted brokers out there. With 23 years in the financial sector, having survived one major, and multiple minor, financial crises, I’ve no doubt that Swissquote is far safer than many competitors.
Aside from their reputation, they also operate in multiple legal entities and are regulated by top tiered financial regulators such as FINMA in Switzerland and the FCA in the UK. The broker is also regularly inspected by different entities around the world, such as Dubai Financial Services Authority, or the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. What makes me feel super at-ease when scrutinizing Swissquote is their listing on SIX Swiss Exchange, making their financial information publicly available for users to verify.
Operating as a bank through Swissquote Bank Limited, they guarantee a high level of investor protection, topping as much as 100,000 Swiss Francs (or GBP 85,000) per account. Comparatively higher than SaxoBank’s. They also bless their clients with negative balance protection – for Forex and CFD trading. Trust me, this is a huge deal when trading with high leveraged instruments.
Swissquote has offices in Switzerland and around the world where clients are able to meet representatives. Compared to all the major international brokers I have reviewed so far, only a tiny portion are brave enough to allow in-person customer meetings. Congrats to Swissquote.
Trading Products Available
Swissquote offers trading in the following instruments:
- US Equities – I love how both small and large cap stocks can be traded
- EU Equities – same as above, lots of penny stocks
- Japan Equities – major stocks such as Nintendo
- Hong Kong Equities
- Mutual Funds
- Bitcoin & Cryptocurrencies – they were the first to create a dynamically managed Bitcoin certificate (also listed on the Swiss exchange)
Swissquote’s trading fees are relatively high compared to other brokers. What far outranks the competition are the ultra-low usage fees: they do not charge any account or inactivity fees. In this area, Swissquote is much better than SaxoBank which charges inactivity fees of $100 every 6 months.
I absolutely hate the process of opening an account with Swissquote. Having lawyers, solicitors, accountants, bank managers or notary certify your ID and proof of address is incredibly laborsome & complicated – even if it is done digitally. In my opinion, such a requirement contributes to a reputedly convoluted and slow account opening process.
With $0.00 minimum balance required, many demo account users are happy to switch over to a live account and start with small deposits. To keep things easy, Swissquote allows funding of accounts via bank transfer or credit/debit card.
- Support. I’ve given a 6/10 rating to Swissquote customer support, mostly because of there being no 24/7 customer support. The daytime phone, live chat, email and social media support do still provide high class assistance to traders.
- Research. 7/10 is somewhat average compared to other brokers. Apart from having good interactive charts and ad-hoc recommendations, they have no fundamental data available and the research tool is not user-friendly. I really don’t get why there’s a news flow in 3 languages at the same time.
- Web Platform. 9/10 despite having limited order types and poor search function, Swissquote nevertheless features ultra-safe 2FA login, efficient price alerts, and the platform is available in several major languages.
- Mobile App. 8/10 having a lot of functionalities makes the app slightly complicated, tho powerful. Like the web platform, the app has 2FA login making it safe to use, compared to that of SaxoBank which lacks the feature. Despite being user-friendly and boasting intuitive functions with a wide variety of order types and indicator tools, the Swissquote app got some very bad reviews on Google Play store. I’ve noticed that most brokerage apps score relatively low (average is 3 stars – despite being an awesome app). Perhaps people blame the app for loosing money?
Swissquote’s .ch TLD website visits recorded at 327,9100 of which 49.59% are from Switzerland, 4.14% are from France, 3.94% from China, Germany at 3.64%, and 3.50% of visitors are from Turkey.
Compared to competitor brokers: SaxoBank and Degiro get more visitors than Swissquote with 1,067,768 visits for Saxo( of which most visits are from China); Degiro visits stand high at 2,395,796 with the majority from France & Czech Republic.
Alternatives to Swissquote
Rest assured because plenty of Swissquote alternatives exist in the legacy broker world. Many of my colleagues use Degiro, and I personally love SaxoBank. These two are known to be better alternatives to Swissquote. As for the range of instruments available, SaxoBank is in the lead while Degiro has broader access to international markets.
As for fees, Swissquote may not be too popular with its high fees, especially compared to Degiro and SaxoBank which have very low fees.
Research and Education, investors may most likely opt for Saxo Bank as they have the highest rating for both Research and Education among traders and followed by Swissquote’s average Research rating and excellent Education rating whereas Degiro have below average rating on both.
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