Founded in 1986, SogoTrade is an online discount brokerage that charges $4.88 base commissions and supports Chinese-speaking customers. Unfortunately, despite offering five trading platforms for stocks and options, SogoTrade struggles to stand out against similarly priced brokers.
Top Takeaways for 2019
After spending six months testing 16 online brokers for our ninth annual stock broker review, here are our top findings on SogoTrade:
- Even with base pricing for stock trades starting at $4.88 per trade, SogoTrade doesn't make our list of the best brokers for discount trading. For $0 per trade, investors can get far more value at full-service behemoths like TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, or Charles Schwab.
- In our testing, we found that SogoTrade struggles to compete with industry leaders in key areas, including Trading Platforms, Research, Mobile Trading, and Ease of Use.
- If there is one small brightspot, it is that SogoTrade does support Chinese-speaking customers (although Firstrade does too while offering $0 trades). SogoTrade also offers lower pricing for customers who prepay for trades upfront. Lastly, we found that the SogoOptions platform will satisfy casual and advanced options traders.
- We do not recommend SogoTrade for IRA accounts, beginners, or day trading.
- In our nationwide testing, we found SogoTrade's phone service to slightly above industry standards, which was good to see.
- Trades as low as $2.88 + 100 free trades. Switch to SogoTrade! Open Account
|Commissions & Fees|
|Offering of Investments|
|Platforms & Tools|
|Ease of Use|
Commissions & Fees
SogoTrade charges $4.88 for all equity trades. For customers seeking further discounts, this base commission rate can be reduced in several ways. For customers who make over 149 trades per quarter, the rate is reduced to $2.88 a trade. Alternatively, SogoTrade allows its customers to prepay for trades at a discounted rate of $3.88 per trade (minimum 20 trades purchased; trades expire after one year). Prepay for 50 trades and the rate is further discounted to $2.88 per trade.
SogoTrade pricing summary:
|Stock Trade Fee (per trade)||$4.88|
|ETF Trade Fee||$4.88|
|Options Base Fee||$4.88|
|Options Per Contract Fee||$0.50|
|Mutual Fund Trade Fee||$25.00|
|Broker Assisted Trades Fee||$25.00|
Platforms & Tools
When it comes to trading platforms and tools, despite offering five different platforms, SogoTrade underwhelms when compared to industry leaders.
Good stuff: Once you get past the names and confusion of which platform is which, the good news is that you can quickly identify which platform is right for you. SogoOnline and SogoTrader are built for basic to intermediate investors, while SogoOptions and SogoElite ($100,000 minimum portfolio balance) will make advanced options and equity traders feel right at home. Finally, the SogoPlay platform simplifies options trade ideation and offers good value to customers.
Stuff to think over: 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 new investors. SogoOptions does a good job 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-and-loss charts. The downside to SogoOptions is its outdated interface.
SogoTrade offers its customers little to no fundamental research, and falls far behind similarly priced brokers. Beyond basic stock and ETFs research, SogoTrade offers no research for investments such as mutual funds or fixed income. Also, while SogoTrade offers its customers one third-party research report, for $.07 more per stock trade (base rate), Fidelity and Charles Schwab offer customers 12 and eight, respectively.
To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2019 Broker Review, 300 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.
- Average Connection Time: <1 minute
- Average Net Promoter Score: 7.9 / 10
- Average Professionalism Score: 7.9 / 10
- Overall Score: 8.14 / 10
- Ranking: 8 th (16 brokers)
SogoTrade’s mobile trading experience has its high points and low points. Overall, it meets the industry standard. Streaming real-time quotes are provided throughout the app, and there is Apple Watch support. Drawbacks include that customers can place only simple stock and single-leg options trades. Also, there is no alerts functionality, and charting features are limited as no technical studies can be added.
Offering of Investments
Beyond a basic offering of stock and options trading, SogoTrade has little to offer everyday investors. Mutual funds trading supported only by phoning in orders, no fixed-income trading is provided, and there are no commission-free ETFs. Also, while SogoTrade does provide a Chinese version of its website and Chinese customer service, among other features, Firstrade delivers a similar experience with free trades.
SogoTrade presents itself as a deep discount broker with great tools that will satisfy active traders and casual investors. While SogoTrade does offer customers a diversity of platforms and low commission rates, there are noticeable holes throughout its offering.
Established in 1986, SogoTrade is an online broker whose goal is to provide discounted commissions for its customers, while still offering competitive industry tools.
As commission rates have gone down across the industry over the past several years, full-service brokerage competitors have caught up with SogoTrade on base rate commissions. Unfortunately, SogoTrade would require a significant drop in base commission rates to reassert itself as a provider of value for investors.
2019 Review Methodology
For the StockBrokers.com ninth annual best online brokers review published in February 2019, a total of 4,544 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.
Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
About the author: Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 18 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in the WSJ, The New York Times, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.