SogoTrade Review – How Does This Stock Broker Compare?

SogoTrade Review
  • Commissions
  • Mobile Platform
  • Desktop Platform
  • Executions
  • Customer Service
  • Short Lists
3.8

Summary

As a brokerage firm that caters to the Chinese-speaking community, SogoTrade offers both customer service and trading technology in the language. Through our review, we found that it offers a viable solution for day traders who place many trades in a quarterly or 12-month period.

About SogoTrade

Coast Investments Associates was founded in 1986. The company purchased SogoTrade in 2010, and the new enterprise was renamed SogoTrade, Inc. in 2014. Today, the brokerage firm caters to the Chinese-speaking community, offering both customer service and trading technology in the language. SogoTrade also allows non-US citizens to open an international securities account. Find out more in this SogoTrade Review.

SogoTrade Pricing

Commissions

Equity trades cost $4.88 at SogoTrade. Customers who place more than 150 trades per quarter get a $2 discount. There is no limit to the number of shares that can be traded at either commission level. Using a live rep over the phone to complete a trade costs $25.

Prepaid Commission Packages

SogoTrade has a unique commission schedule where clients can purchase trades up front before actually buying or selling any securities. There are two packages available. The first costs $77.60 and includes 20 trades. That boils down to $3.88 per trade. The second package is a 50-trade bundle that costs $144. This one translates into $2.88 per trade. The trades expire after 12 months.

Options

Derivatives cost an extra 50¢ at SogoTrade. Exercises and assignments are a rather expensive $15 each.

Account Requirements

An investment account at SogoTrade can be opened with zero deposit. The broker-dealer does have a $50 annual low-balance fee that is charged anytime an account goes below $100 in total assets. Placing one trade per year will waive the annual fee.

Software Fees

Because SogoTrade strives to be an ultra-low-cost firm, there are no software fees.

Trading Platforms

Website

I was disappointed with the lack of sophisticated tools on the broker’s website when going through the SogoTrade Review. SogoTrade does offer more advanced platforms, as we shall see shortly. There is a very simple trading ticket on the SogoTrade site. It offers trading in stocks, ETF’s, and options.

Stock orders have several order types available, including limit, market, stop, and trailing orders. Duration can be set to day, GTC, and extended hours. Next to the order ticket is a data section that shows bid-ask spread and volume. This information can be refreshed.

Account balances are shown, including margin balance and overnight buying power. Another window displays orders, both current and filled. A positions tab shows current holdings.

SogoTrade Website

SogoTrader

Traders who don’t want to use the rudimentary website can move up to an entry-level platform called SogoTrader. It is customizable and comes with interactive charting, which the website lacks. Comparisons and volume can be displayed, and a graph can be shown out to ten years.

Real-time streaming quotes are available, along with market news, positions, and multiple watch lists. Orders are shown, including cancelled orders.

SogoOptions

I was impressed with the number of tools SogoTrade offers option investors. A discrete platform designed for derivative trading has four tabs at the top. They are trade, chain, strategies, and tools.

The chain tab offers puts and calls plus several strategies, including straddles and diagonals. Under tools, there is a profit/loss calculator. The trade tab includes a user-friendly order ticket, and pending orders are shown in a helpful table.

SogoTrade Options

SogoElite

For accounts above $100,000, SogoTrade offers its most advanced desktop trading system, aptly entitled SogoElite. It includes tools for backtesting and tick-by-tick data from various exchanges. The software also features option chains and streaming charts with technical indicators, as found in our SogoTrade Review.

While SogoElite is a strong platform, brokers like TradeStation do not have as steep requirements for their software packages.

SogoTrade Elite

Mobile Trading

A web-based trading platform for mobile devices is at m.sogotrade.com. I was disappointed by the lack of options trading here as I was going through the SogoTrade Review. Stocks and ETF’s can be traded, however. Account balances are shown, and a small chart can be displayed.

The trading ticket is similar to the others already discussed. Available actions include sell short and buy to cover. There are several order types and duration choices. An order status button shows all orders—pending, filled, and cancelled.

Besides this platform, the broker-dealer also has an app for Android and Apple devices. A chart can be rotated horizontally, and a variety of time frames can be chosen. The order ticket allows shorting, and it shows recently updated information on an entered ticker symbol.

As mentioned, SogoTrade’s mobile platform is quite weak, and struggles to compete with something like TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim mobile app.

SogoTrade Mobile

API

SogoTrade also has an Application Programming Interface, a rare feature among brokerage firms. It allows its customers to build their own trading software and access necessary market and account data to place trades.

SogoTrade Customer Service

A SogoTrade associate can be reached over the phone Monday through Friday, 7:00 am until 8:00 pm, EST. Unfortunately, the broker doesn’t offer weekend or nighttime hours, which other firms like Merrill Edge do offer. The SogoTrade website has a helpful on-line chat function during service hours, and there is a dedicated phone line for Chinese speakers.

Executions and Routes

There are no routing choices at SogoTrade. The broker promises “ultra-low latency” on SogoElite, and presumably this platform would have the fastest executions.

Shorting Stocks

Shorting equities is permissible at SogoTrade. Stocks that trade for more than $17 per share have a 30% initial margin requirement. Equities under $17 have a $5 per share requirement.

SogoTrade uses Apex Clearing as its clearing firm. If Apex doesn’t have shares of a thinly-traded stock in its inventory, it will charge a hard-to-borrow fee for a short position on the stock. SogoTrade does not charge any markups on the fee.

Type of Trader SogoTrade is Best For

Investors who place many trades in a quarterly or 12-month period will benefit from SogoTrade’s commission schedule. Because of the great option tools that are available, derivative traders will also have good resources here, in addition to the great commission schedule. And as already mentioned, Chinese speakers have support here that other firms don’t provide.

Pros…

  • A portfolio management service is available that costs 0.75% annually. It charges no commissions.
  • Customers receive Morning Call, the broker’s daily newsletter, which includes security research.
  • Assuming an account balance of at least $100, SogoTrade is cheaper than Fidelity, E*Trade, Schwab, and Ally Invest.

…and Cons

  • IRA’s are available, but they have an annual fee of $35.
  • Statements and trade confirmations in paper format aren’t free.

Judgment

SogoTrade has good resources for active day traders. The broker will rightfully attract some interest from investors at other firms that charge more, as we discovered in the SogoTrade Review.

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