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Overall

SogoTrade provides customers with competitive regular stock and option trades at the expense of a quality all-around, balanced client experience.

Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
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  • Commissions & Fees
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By Blain Reinkensmeyer on February 16th, 2016 | Last updated: December 1st, 2016

Dislikes
  • Steep extra charge for pre- and post-hours trades
  • Outdated website
  • Mobile trading limited in functionality
  • Poor fundamental research


SogoTrade Review

SogoTrade is a deep discount online broker whose goal is to provide rock-bottom commissions for its customers, while still providing competitive industry tools.

Is SogoTrade the ultimate value broker or does its heavily discounted trades leave too little investment to achieve perfection in the eyes of customers? This review will uncover the answer.

Commissions & Fees

SogoTrade charges $5 for all stock trades placed during regular market hours. For clients who make over 149 trades per quarter, the rate is reduced to $3 a trade. Alternatively, SogoTrade allows its customers to prepay for trades at a discounted $4 per trade rate (minimum 20 trades purchase; trades expire after one year).

At the $5 base charge, SogoTrade is right in line with discount competitors OptionsHouse and TradeKing, which both charge $4.95 per trade. However, there is one major caveat for stock trades, and that is SogoTrade charges for after-hours trades: base rate + $.005 per share. Charging for post-market hours trades is nearly non-existent across the industry, and for good reason; they are a terrible customer experience.

Options trades are more clean-cut, a flat $5.00 + $.50 per contract. No gimmicks. SogoTrades’ options commission structure is most similar to OptionsHouse, which charges $4.95 + $.50 per contract.

For mutual fund trades, SogoTrade charges $25, which is more than its discount competitors. The real drawback though is that SogoTrade does not accept web orders. All mutual fund trades must be executed via phone, which is certainly inconvenient for customers.

After breaking down SogoTrades’ full commission schedule, including margin rates, and comparing it to the rest of the industry, SogoTrade finishes with a very respectable fifth place.

SogoTradeOptionsHouseTradeKingLightspeed TradingInteractive Brokers
Stock Trade Fee (flat)$5.00$4.95$4.95$4.50N/A
Options Base Fee$5.00$4.95$4.95$0.00$0.00
Options Per Contract Fee$0.50$0.50$0.65$0.60$0.70
Broker Assisted Trades Fee$25.00$25.00$20.00$25.00$30.00
Commissions & Fees 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 0/5

Customer Service

Before testing SogoTrade’s customer service for our 2016 Review, we didn’t know what to expect. With such steep trade commissions, we were very curious to see how SogoTrade would stack up.

For phone support, SogoTrade delivered with extremely quick pickup times. Only one time did we have a hold period of between 1 – 2 minutes, with every test seeing a pickup in less than 60 seconds. Once connected, reps were pretty well trained. Each said their name, greeted us warmly, answered all of our questions, and closed the call with a pleasant closer.

Positives aside, we found that less than half the time, phone support reps neglected to offer us contact information if we had further questions, and only half the reps asked if we had any more questions. We frequently ended up getting the same support reps, and overall our testers left feeling that the experience was “good” / borderline “ok.” All data tallied, SogoTrade finished ninth.

Phone support aside, email and live chat were also mixed bags. With email support, responses always came in less than one business day. Live chat connection times were less than one minute over half the time; however, once we had to wait nearly 20 minutes before finally being connected. SogoTrade finished seventh for email and tenth for live chat. See: Best Brokers for Customer Service.

Platforms & Tools

When it comes to trading platforms and tools, SogoTrade has its high points and low points. When I first started using the broker, I was quickly confused by all the different platforms available to me. To provide clarity – there are five platforms in total – I will break them down individually:

  • SogoOnline – Essentially a basic order entry page on the website. Place to make basic stock and option trades as well as review order statuses.
  • SogoTrader – This is SogoTrade’s basic web-based stock-trading platform. Streaming real-time quotes, basic charting, watch lists, and order entry can all be found here.
  • SogoOptions – For options traders, SogoOption is the primary “go to” web-based platform. Functionality is widespread and the platform is well put together.
  • SogoElite – SogoTrade’s desktop platform. Built for advanced and active traders. The platform is a licensed version of ActiveTick, with numerous bells and whistles for stock trading.
  • SogoPlay – The newest platform to be added, SogoPlay is a licensed version of OptionsPlay, which uses technical and fundamental analysis to populate and score different option trade ideas.

Having numerous different platforms is confusing in itself, but naming them all similar names only makes the situation worse. Once you get past the names and confusion of which platform is which, the good news is that you can pretty quickly identify which platform is right for you. SogoOnline and SogoTrader are good for basic to intermediate investors, while SogoOptions and SogoElite will feel right at home for advanced options and equity traders. Lastly, the SogoPlay platform is really more a research tool than a trading platform. That said, SogoPlay’s user-friendly interface and clean ratings are easy to like for any style of trader.

SogoTrade SogoTrader

All the platforms are made available to all clients at no additional cost, which is a nice plus for customers. The one exception is SogoElite, which requires a $100,000 minimum portfolio balance for access.

SogoTrade SogoElite desktop platform

Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, I appreciate SogoTrader’s simplicity and ease of use; however, the charting is way too basic, even for a newer investor. SogoOptions does a good job in providing casual and advanced options traders the tools they need to succeed: streaming options chains with all the greeks viewable, basic and advanced probability analysis, and clean profit & loss charts. The downside to SogoOptions is its outdated interface. The list goes on for each platform.

SogoTrade option chain

When all 52 variables we score for Platforms & Tools are factored in, SogoTrade is unfortunately, on the whole, pretty weak. SogoTrade scored 59%, which places the broker well in the bottom half of the industry. That said, compared to other discount brokers, SogoTrade is somewhere in the middle, better than Firstrade and Capital One Investing, but worse than TradeKing, OptionsHouse, and Lightspeed. See: Best Brokers for Platforms & Tools.

Research

Like most other discount brokers, SogoTrade offers its customers little to no fundamental research. While customers can perform bare-bones basic research on stocks (balance sheets, income statements, SEC filings) and ETFs (fund descriptions, expense ratios, top 10 holdings), research for mutual funds, pink sheet equities, and fixed income are non-existent. Compared to other discount brokers, SogoTrade falls far behind. See: Best Brokers for Research.

SogoTrade research stock quote

If there’s one plus in SogoTrade’s research offering, it’s the SogoForecaster tool, which includes both stock and ETF screening, analysis, and ratings. The tool has a variety of different pages for users to browse through, but I found the depth and underlying value to be minimal beyond the basic screening capabilities.

SogoTrade stock screener

MobileTrading

And like SogoTrade’s research offering, Mobile Trading is a similar, non-existent experience. SogoTrade only offers a basic iOS iPhone app and Android app, with no support for tablets of any variety. Using the smartphone app, customers can view streaming real-time quotes and watch lists as well as option chains and very basic charts. For trading, only simple stock and single-leg option trades can be made. See: Best Brokers for Mobile Trading.

Other Notes

SogoTrade’s website is fairly straightforward to navigate, thanks to the clean primary header menu; however, the design is outdated. Font size, buttons, borders, boxes, etc. all flow cohesively together but clearly need a fresh design. In terms of usability, none of the trade platforms feel similar to one another. I also found it annoying to have to input my pin every time I logged into my account (something few brokers require, or if they do, it’s an optional feature).

Closing Thoughts

SogoTrade presents itself as a deep discount broker with great tools that will satisfy active traders and casual investors alike. While SogoTrade does provide customers with a strong diversity of platforms and competitive commission rates, there are noticeable holes throughout its offering.

SogoTrade’s website is outdated, and conducting research alongside trading on the go is a poor experience at best. Even its commission structure comes with tricky gimmicks designed to prey on unknowing customers; for example, charging for after-hours trades. If I were going to use SogoTrade for either stocks or options trading, I’d choose options.

For the investor who can accept these drawbacks in return for discounted trades, SogoTrade could perhaps be a decent fit. SogoTrade’s customer service is responsive and the diversity of platforms does have advantages, as we explored earlier. Make no mistake though, discounted trades come with a price.


Blain Reinkensmeyer

Reviewed by Blain Reinkensmeyer Blain heads research at StockBrokers.com and has been involved in the markets since placing his first stock trade back in 2001. He developed StockBrokers.com's annual review format six years ago which is respected by broker executives as the most thorough in the industry. Currently maintaining funded accounts with more than a dozen different US regulated online brokers, he's executed thousands of trades through his career and enjoys sharing his experiences through his personal blog, StockTrader.com.


Ratings Overall


Commissions & Fees

Commission Notes

SogoTrade full commissions schedule breakdown below. Note, SogoTrade does charge an account inactivity fee which they call a "Low equity fee". The fee, "$50 annual charged if total account equity drops below $100 (waived if at least 1 trade executed in previous 12 month period)"

Stock Trades - All market and limit order stock trades are $5 per trade up to 100,000 shares. Make over 149 trades per quarter and the rate is reduced to $3 per trade. Alternatively, trades can be prepaid for $4 each with a minimum purchase of 20 trades (trades are good for one year). Broker assisted trades are $25.

SogoTrade is one of the few brokers that still charges for pre and post hours trading. The rate is Base Rate + $.005/share.

For stocks priced under $1.00 ($100 minimum investment), add the greater of $0.0003 / share (10% of principal max) OR 1/4% principal. Penny Stocks (OTCBB and Pink Sheets) may incur additional transaction fees based on DTC charges. These charges can be substantial, so they may be blocked from online trading. In this case, please contact the Trade Desk for more information.

Options Trades - Options trades cost $5.00 plus $.50 per contract. Spreads are only charged a single base rate. Any exercise or assignment costs $15. For broker assisted trades, add $25.

Mutual Funds - Mutual funds trading is not supported for web trades. Instead all orders must be placed via broker assisted (ie phone).

Other Investments - SogoTrade does not currently offer futures, bonds, or forex trading.




Trade Commissions Breakdown

Stock Trade Fee (flat)* $5.00
Stock Trade Fee (per share)* N/A
Options Base Fee* $5.00
Options Per Contract Fee* $0.50
Options Exercise Fee $15.00
Options Assignment Fee $15.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $25.00
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $25.00
Minimum Deposit $500.00

Margin Rates

Under $24,999.99 9.00%
$25,000.00 to 49,999.99 8.00%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 7.00%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 5.75%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 5.25%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 4.75%
Above $1,000,000.00 4.25%

Miscellaneous Fees

Bond Trade Fee N/A
Treasury Trade Fee N/A
IRA Annual Fee $35.00
IRA Closure Fee $60.00
Returned ACH Fee $30.00
Returned Wire Fee $30.00
Stock Certificate Processing Fee N/A
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee N/A
Paper Statement Fee $10.00
Paper Confirmation Fee $5.00
Domestic Wire Fee $25.00
International Wire Fee $50.00


Account Features

Offering of Investments

Advisor Services help
No
Bonds (Corporate) help
No
Bonds (Municipal) help
No
Bonds (US Treasury) help
No
CDs help
No
Clearing Firm help
Apex
Commission Free ETFs help
0
Direct Market Routing - Stocks help
No
Direct Market Routing - Options help
No
DRIPs help
Yes
# of Easy to Borrow Stocks help
4170
Forex Trading help
No
Futures Trading help
No
Member FINRA help
Yes
Member SIPC help
Yes
Mutual Funds help
Yes
Mutual Funds (Load) help
7584
Mutual Funds (No Load) help
4642
Mutual Funds (NTF) help
340
Mutual Funds (Total) help
12222
Mutual Funds Phone Trades help
Yes
Mutual Funds Web Trades help
No
No Fee IRAs help
No
No Inactivity Fees help
No
No Minimum Deposit help
No
Options Exercising (Phone) help
Yes
Options Exercising (Web) help
No
Options Trading help
Yes
Options Trading (Mini) help
No
Options Trading (Weekly) help
Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets help
Yes
Stock Trading help
Yes

Customer Service

Phone Support help
Yes
Email Support help
Yes
Live Chat (Current Clients) help
Yes
24/7 Support help
No

Platforms & Tools

Desktop Platform (Windows) help
Yes
Desktop Platform (Mac) help
No
Web Platform help
Yes
Active Trading Platform help
SogoElite
Auto Investing help
No
Charting - Display Corporate Events help
No
Charting - Drawing Tools help
12
Charting - Notes help
No
Heat Mapping help
Yes
Ladder Trading help
No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks help
No
Level 2 Quotes - Options help
No
Option Chains - Streaming Real-time help
Yes
Option Analysis - P&L Charts help
Yes
Stock Alerts Delivery - Email help
No
Stock Alerts Delivery - Sound help
No
Stock Alerts Delivery - Text SMS help
No
Streaming Time & Sales help
Yes
Streaming TV help
No
Trade Hot Keys help
No
Virtual Trading help
Yes
Watch Lists - Streaming Real-time Quotes help
Yes

Research

Research - ETFs help
Yes
Research - Mutual Funds help
No
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB help
No
Research - Fixed Income help
No
Equity Research - Research Reports help
0
ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings help
Yes
ETF Research - Morningstar Style Box help
No
ETF Research - Research Reports help
No
Mutual Fund Research - Research Reports help
No
Mutual Fund Research - Fees Breakdown help
No
Mutual Fund Research - Performance Analysis help
No
Mutual Fund Research - Top 10 Holdings help
No
Screener - Stocks help
Yes
Screener - ETFs help
Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds help
No
Screener - Options help
No
Screener - Bonds help
No

Education

Has Education - Stocks help
Yes
Has Education - ETFs help
No
Has Education - Options help
Yes
Has Education - Mutual Funds help
No
Has Education - Fixed Income help
No
Has Education - Retirement help
No
Investor Dictionary help
Yes
Client Webinars help
No
Live Seminars help
No
Videos help
No
Retirement Calculator help
No
Community Forums help
No

Mobile Trading

iPhone App help
Yes
iPad App help
No
Apple Watch App help
No
Android App help
Yes
Android Tablet App help
No
Mobile Site help
Yes
Quotes (Real-time) help
Yes
Quotes (Streaming Real-time) help
Yes
Watch List Syncing help
No
Market Movers (Top Gainers) help
No
Stock Alerts Delivery - Push Notifications help
No
Customizable Homescreen help
No
Stream Live TV help
No
Trading - Stocks help
Yes
Trading - Stocks (After-Hours) help
Yes
Trading - Simple Options help
Yes
Trading - Complex Options help
No

Banking

Member FDIC help
No
Checking Accounts help
No
Savings Accounts help
No
Debit Cards help
No
Credit Cards help
No
Mortgage Loans help
No
Mobile Check Deposit help
No
ATM Fee Reimbursement help
No
No Fee Banking help
No
Retail Locations help
0

Active Trading

Receives Payment for Order Flow (Equities) help
Yes
Client Liquidity Rebates help
No
Financial Information Forum (FIF) Participant help
No

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 2/16/2016 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.




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