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 $4.88 for all stock trades placed during regular market hours. For clients 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 $3.88 per trade rate (minimum 20 trades purchase; trades expire after one year).
At the $4.88 base charge, SogoTrade is right in line with discount competitors OptionsHouse and TradeKing, which both charge $4.95 per trade. Options trades are more clean-cut, a flat $4.88 + $.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.
|View All Fees||SogoTrade||OptionsHouse||Ally Invest||Firstrade||Just2Trade|
|Stock Trade Fee (flat)||$4.88||$4.95||$4.95||$2.95||$2.50|
|Options Base Fee||$4.88||$4.95||$4.95||$2.95||$2.50|
|Options Per Contract Fee||$0.50||$0.50||$0.65||$0.50||$0.50|
|Broker Assisted Trades Fee||$25.00||$25.00||$20.00||$19.95||$22.50|
|Commission Free ETFs||0||5||0||12||0|
|Commissions & Fees|
UPDATE 11/1/17 – SogoTrade reduced its equity commissions. Equity trades, including stocks and ETFs, have been lowered to $4.88 per trade (previously $5). Options trades are now $4.88 + $.50 per contract (previously $5 + $0.50 per contract) Since these new rates were announced after the 2017 Review was published, they are not incorporated into SogoTrade's star rating for this category.
For phone support, SogoTrade delivers with extremely quick pickup times. Not once did we have a hold period longer than one minute, with every test seeing a pickup in less than 60 seconds.
For phone support, SogoTrade delivers with extremely quick pickup times. Not once did we have a hold period longer than one minute, 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 11th.
Phone support aside, email and live chat were also mixed bags. With email support, responses always came in less than one business day; however, one of our tests never received a response. Live chat connection times were always fast, less than one minute each time; unfortunately, overall opinion scores were extremely inconsistent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When all 52 variables we score for Platforms & Tools are factored in, SogoTrade is unfortunately, on the whole, pretty weak.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
For our 2017 Stock Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked sixteen different online brokers over a period of six months. In total, we conducted 349 customer service tests, collected 5,277 data points, and produced over 40,000 words of research. How we test.View all SogoTrade Fees & Features
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 seven years ago, a format broker executives consider the most thorough in the industry. Blain currently maintains funded accounts with more than a dozen different US-regulated online brokers and has executed thousands of trades throughout his career. He enjoys sharing his experiences through his personal blog, StockTrader.com.
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