SogoTrade Review (2020): A Broker That Keeps it Simple

SogoTrade Review

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. See more information here about how we make money.

SogoTrade - Reviews & Ratings

SogoTrade is a discount broker that offers Chinese language support. The broker offers some new options for cryptocurrency traders, SogoOptions for options traders, and benefits active traders who place a high volume of trades each month.

FAST FACTS:
• Account Minimum: $0
• Fees: High commission fees for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options
• Best For: High-volume, active traders
• Highlight: SogoOptions for options traders

Investor Warning: Before investing carefully consider the underlying objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the investment product. All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is no assurance that the investment process will consistently lead to successful investing. Asset allocation and diversification do not eliminate the risk of experiencing investment losses. ETFs can entail risks similar to direct stock ownership, including market, sector, or industry risks. Some ETFs may involve international risk, currency risk, commodity risk, and interest rate risk. Trading prices may not reflect the net asset value of the underlying securities. Risks applicable to any portfolio are those associated with its underlying securities.

While SogoTrade may not be as well known as TD Ameritrade or E*Trade, the discount broker has been around since 1986 and offers Chinese language support. In our testing, we found that SogoTrade offers a few new options for cryptocurrency traders, but it does not offer any commission-free equities, ETFs, or options. However, you may be able to save more by opting for pre-paid trades.

SogoTrade is a discount broker that supports English and Chinese customers. The firm offers several desktop platforms to handle different trading appetites, including equities, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and cryptocurrencies.

There are also native mobile apps and mobile browser versions that can be used for on-the-fly trading. SogoTrader, SogoOptions, SogoOnline, and SogoElite are the main platforms for their trading services. However, the main platform is SogoTrader,which houses all of their streaming quotes, charts, stock trends, news, and order execution interface.

SogoTrade is most well known for welcoming international traders. While it is a US-based brokerage, traders from all over the world can open an account online, and there is no minimum funding required. However, SogoTrade charges an inactivity fee for allowing your account to remain under $100.

You can open several different types of accounts with SogoTrade, including individual, joint, business, IRA, Coverdell Education Savings Account, UTMA/UGMA account, or trust.

There is a five-step registration process that takes about 20 minutes to complete, and you’ll need to provide personal information and trading experience answers. You also need to pass an ID check to verify identity and residency. A bank statement or utility bill is necessary for residency verification.

Finally, even though it supports international clients, SogoTrade only offers USD as its base currency. If you were hoping to avoid conversion fees, you will not be able to fund any other type of currency.

Overview and Summary

  • While beginner traders can use SogoTrade, it’s really meant for active day traders who have higher trade volumes and can take advantage of lower commission fees.
  • The discount broker still charges pretty high commission fees for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options. You can access commission-free trades on many other online brokers.
  • Their mobile app is easy-to-use and available on iOS or Android. It offers some simple, free tools such as a watch list, position monitoring, and alert notifications.
  • SogoTrade does offer retirement accounts, but you will pay high fees for mutual funds, as you need to speak to a broker over the phone to access mutual funds. It costs $25.
  • Charting is pretty simple on SogoOnline and SogoTrader. SogoOptions and SogoElite have the most customization options, such as streaming options chains with advanced probability analysis.

How Does SogoTrade Work

SogoTrade Trading Dashboard

SogoTrade is the main platform used by the broker’s clients. It can be accessed on the web or via the desktop app. You can also download the mobile app on iOS or Android.

Once you sign up for an account, you can instantly access all kinds of order tips, but it’s not very customizable. You also may get confused since there are a number of platforms, and each one has special capabilities.

You can use SogoTrader to display streaming quotes and charts to get key statistics and place an order. While there are some ways to personalize orders, including populating limit orders based on price, you can also select “passive” or “aggressive.” With passive bidding, you buy at the bid and sell at the ask. Aggressive trading enters a buy at the ask and sells at the bid. There is also a semi-aggressive option that shows you a midpoint to buy between bid and ask.

The best part about SogoTrader is that it selects a trading venue based on your particular order request. It also uses a smart order router to ensure that market conditions and technical issues are considered before placing a trade. It does not go through any break-up orders or dark pools, but it does optimize for price improvement and speed.

The SogoTrade Experience

SogoTrader is a simple-to-use platform that has a number of tools, but you can access more capabilities on the web rather than downloading the desktop application.

One of the main drawbacks is that it only supports stocks and ETF trading. If you want to trade options, then you have to use a separate platform through the browser. The interface almost hides the ability to access the SogoOptions platform.

You need to click on the SogoTrade logo, then click “Trade” on the SogoOnline dashboard. You can select SogoOptions or SogoPlay from here.

With the SogoPlay dashboard, you can access OptionsPlay, which is a tool that generates strategies and trading ideas. You’ll have to switch back and forth between options and equities.

Despite offering stocks, ETFs, and a new cryptocurrency platform, SogoTrade does not allow you to trade futures or forex, and you have to call a broker to trade fixed income products.

However, you can access a robo-advisor called MarketRiders, but you’ll need a SogoElite account, which has an additional fee. SogoElite is the most powerful of all the trading platforms offered by SogoTrade, and it offers a stock valuation and forecasting tool, which researches over 5,000 equities.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface on the web and on mobile
  • Offers benefits for active, high volume traders who prepay or make over 10,000 trades per month
  • You’ll never pay maintenance or inactivity fees
  • SogoOptions offers a robust interface for placing different spread orders, and you can test a variety of ideas and strategies

Cons

  • Still charges commissions on ETFs and equities, unlike most other discount brokers
  • Too many platforms with different tools
  • May only access robo-advisor and advanced tools through SogoElite, which requires over $120,000 account balance

What Can You Trade with SogoTrade

SogoTrade is a tad limiting if you want to access all trading offerings like with TD Ameritrade.

The following trades are offered on SogoTrade:

  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • ETFs

However, you cannot trade mutual funds or access the forex. They offer a variety of accounts including Roth IRAs, rollover IRAs, SEP IRA, joint, single, trusts, partnerships, Coverdell, and simple IRA.

Opening an Account

The process to open an account with SogoTrade is pretty simple, fast, and completely online. There is no minimum deposit, and verification takes only 24 hours if you are a US resident who qualifies. International customers may have to go through a longer verification process depending on where you are from.

Analysis, Charting, and Research Tools

Screenshot of a Sogotrade User Market Data

The interface is quite simple when it comes to analysis and tools. On the main screen, you can see all of your account details such as market value of holdings, total account equity, and cash balance.

You can also see the status of any open trade ordres and all-in-one glance at your other portfolio positions. You can analyze your portfolio over time by clicking on your portfolio or navigating to “Account Positions” on the top menu.

You cannot customize portfolio reports, and you will have to wait on some reports as they require an overnight hold. However, buying power and margin reports are available immediately.

Each platform offers screeners and charting tools, but they are quite simple and not customizable on the SogoOnline and SogoTrader platforms. If you want more robust options, you’ll need to trade more and upgrade to the SogoElite level. This requires over $120,000 account minimum.

With SogoElite, users can access ValuEngine, which evaluates stocks and forecasts trends. It covers thousands of US stocks and ADRs. You can also test out different strategies to see what would give you a good return in different markets, as well as what would increase your increase.

If you want to customize charts and add in stock studies, you’ll also need a SogoElite account.

The other options platform SogoPlay allows you to test options strategies and understand different risks vs rewards.

Investor Education

To be clear, SogoTrade is not for a beginner investor, and while there are some tutorials and videos, the ones on the website’s Education Center are quite older. Still, you cna learn about equities, options, and bonds through their knowledgebase.

If you love options, then SogoPlay has more information about options strategies, including how to use them for profits and what to look for when conducting an analysis.

Overall, SogoTrade has been trying to improve their education and stock research tools. Their newest endeavor Morning Call spotlights stocks and ETFs to consider every day. It also includes upside and downside price targets and spotlight stock selections based on so-called “award-winning” technology and historic indicators.

Account, Prepaid Trading, and Investment Costs

There is a minimum deposit required of $500 to get started on SogoTrade. In addition, the discount broker offers no commision-free products like other online brokers such as TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and E*Trade.

For stock trades, ETFs, and options, traders are charged a base fee of $4.88 each. It’s an additional $0.50 per options contract. Mutual trades have a fee of $25, and any broker-assisted trades cost $25.

There are some discounts available. For traders who make over 149 trades in a single quarter, the rate is reduced to $2.88 per trade. You can also choose to prepay at $3.88 per trade with a minimum of 20 trades purchased. These trades expire after one year.

If you prepay for 50 trades, you’ll receive the $2.88 discounted rate per trade.

Manual Order Types

You can place a number of orders and set up complicated trades with SogoTrade, depending on the platform.

SogoTrader is the simplest platform, which can be accessed via the web or mobile app. You can place market, limit, stop, stop limit, and trail stop orders on equities and ETFs. You can also access GTC and GTD time limit orders.

Curiously, mutual funds are not supported on the web, mobile, or desktop platform. You can open a “power portfolio” online, but you’ll need to call and get a broker to assist you for $25 to place a mutual fund order.

Options can be traded through the SogoOptions platform. Spreads are charged at a single base rate, and any assignment or exercise costs are $15. If you want a broker to assist you, you’ll need to pay an additional $25.

Cryptocurrency Trading

SogoTrade CryptoTrading Page

Apex Crypto is the latest platform to partner up with SogoTrade, which is how the discount broker now offers a cryptocurrency exchange. To use the service, you will also need to have an Apex Crypto account.

Trading is not available in all 50 states or internationally, however. If you live in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont, you won’t be able to use this platform.

You can move money easily between your accounts on SogoTrade to Apex Crypto accounts. There are fees associated with trading, however. You will charged $1 or 1% of the trade value. Your account is also insured and protected.

There are four cryptocurrencies available with Apex Crypto including:

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin

Margin Trading

You can borrow money through SogoTrade to purchase securities. You can use your current securities as collateral, and you’ll pay interest on anything you borrow. Current margin rates on SogoTrader are much higher than you’ll pay at Interactive Broker, but less than you’ll pay at TD Ameritrade or Charles Schwab, depending on the amount you want to finance.

Smart Features and Mobile Apps

SogoTrade Mobile AppSogoTrader and SogoOnline are not very intuitive. You cannot customize much of the interface, and you have to be logged in to see the latest quotes and rates.

With SogoApp, you can set up alerts, however. It’s packed with everything a trader needs to set up price alerts and view charts on-the-fly. With a user-friendly ordering system, the mobile UI is pretty easy to use. It’s available for iOS and Android.

You can set up watch lists, price lists, complex orders, and monitor your positions within the interface. The only thing missing is extra security. The app does not have Face ID or two-factor authentication.

Security

Like most brokerages, you are insured for $500,000. While it is user-friendly, the account does not have a two-step authenticator login, which leaves it open to some cybersecurity risks. However, many discount brokers still have this issue.

Funding, Payments, and Withdrawal

It costs nothing to fund your account. US customers are able to use bank transfers for free, but non-US customers are charged $50 for withdrawals. If you use a wire transfer, the cost is $25. The withdrawal is not instant either, though SogoTrade claims withdrawals take only 3 days.

Customer Support

SogoTrade Customer Service Page

While SogoTrade does not offer 24/7 support, they are still quite response through live chat or by email. They are courteous and knowledgeable, providing fast, relevant answers. You can talk to them via Skype as well.

Live chat and phone support are only open during regular market hours Monday through Friday.

Tricks to Using SogoTrade Like a Pro

  • If you want to access lower commission rates and know you want to trade with SogoTrade for the long-term, you should consider pre-paying for 50 trades. This cashes in on the $2.88 per trade commission fee.
  • Their web and mobile apps are completely free, but you’ll need a $500 account minimum. You can simply use the mobile app to set up pricing alerts and watch lists for free if you like.
  • To access options strategies and test out ideas, you’ll need to open the OptionsPlay toolset. This can be found after logging into SogoTrade.com, and clicking on SogoPlay under “Trade” on the menu. From here, you can test out over 40 different ideas.

Latest News About SogoTrade

SogoTrade recently partnered with KGI Asia to offer more opportunities to Asia and North America investors.

The discount broker is one of the first to ever partner with a cryptocurrency trading platform. In July 2019, SogoTrade partnered with Apex Clearing and Apex Crypto to allow users to trade four different types of currency including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

What Rocks About Trading with SogoTrade

SogoTrade offers the most benefits for active traders who place a high volume of trades every month. These traders will be able to take advantage of the $2.88 commission fee. However, you need to know what you are doing and set up your orders based on your own strategies as much of the risk management tools aren’t available on SogoTrade.

SogoOptions is one of the best platforms for those who purely trade in options and want to set up a variety of spreads. It also charges a pretty low per contract commission charge at $2.88 plus a $0.50 per contract. You can also use SogoPlay to set up a variety of ideas and testing strategies.

Their support is pretty accessible during business hours. They are quick to answer the phone or live chat message, and they answer your questions with in-depth details.

Finally, if you are interested in trading Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies, SogoTrade is expanding into crypto for certain states. While this service could be improved, many discount brokers stick to traditional equities and ETFs, so this is a bonus for SogoTrade users.

What SogoTrade Could Do Better

The website is pretty clunky, and it takes awhile to sign up and get approved. Once you are in, the learning curve is pretty high, and there are a number of platforms to use based on what you want to trade. In addition, you’ll need to fund your account with $500 immediately in order to access some of these tools.

The commission fees and pricing structures are still higher than most other discount brokers, which have followed suit and removed commissions on stocks and ETFs. In comparison to E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab, SogoTrade struggles to offer the same low-cost trading benefits. However, it does offer lower margin rates for borrowing higher amounts.

While SogoTrade does offer mutual funds, it should be noted that this is only done via phone. You cannot set up mutual funds online or via the mobile app.

Conclusion: Should You Invest with SogoTrade?

On the plus side, SogoTrade is still pretty low cost for active, high-velocity traders. You’ll need to trade frequently or prepay for your trades to get those low-cost deals. There aren’t too many extra bills or whistles within the platform, but the brokerage is trying to do more with Morning Call email updates and Apex cryptocurrency exchange.

The mobile app is quite robust for a trading app. You can access your portfolio and see your positions in real-time, and it syncs up with any changes you make on the web. You can also set up pricing alerts and watch lists.

About Author

Tim Fries Tim Fries is the cofounder of The Tokenist. He has a B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim is also the co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital (protechcap.com).