- Review of: SogoTrade
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Summary: Active traders are a better fit to SogoTrade's pricing model even if it lacks the features that options traders really need.
Simply put SogoTrade is a no-frills discount stock brokerage firm. Why? It’s possible to get some of the cheapest commissions for stock trading that we’ve been able to find, but with a catch. Read more to find out how.
This review has been updated for 2013. We’ve tested SogoTrade since mid-2007. The firm has been OK throughout this entire time period, especially considering that it has changed ownership recently from Genesis Securities to Wang Investments.
SogoTrade seems great if you are just trading with stocks and ETFs, but with mutual funds it’s not recommended.
If you are a passive investor SogoTrade is definitely not right for you.
Since Vanguard Investments is without a doubt the low-cost leader in index funds of this nature, and might be a better option. Active traders are a better fit to SogoTrade’s pricing model. Though low in option pricing, SogoTrade lacks the features an options trader really needs.
Let’s discuss the various characteristics and features of SogoTrade.
SogoTrade Account Options
To date, the only type of account we’ve tested with SogoTrade.com is an individual, taxable stock trading account. However, SogoTrade offers the following types of accounts from which a person can choose.
- Individual, taxable trading accounts
- Traditional and Rollover IRAs
- Educational Savings Accounts (ESA’s)
SogoTrade Investment Options
Within my individual, taxable trading account (mentioned above), I have only so far invested in individual stocks and ETF’s. However, SogoTrade.com offers the following selection of investments from which to choose.
- Margin accounts
- Fixed income (bonds) and CDs
- Money market mutual funds and regular mutual funds
- Stock/ETF options
SogoTrade Fees and CommissionsAs is often the case in today’s investing environment where we seem to have many different brokerages competing for our business/money, the fees, commissions, and account minimum details are really what drive people’s decisions about which investing house to go with.
Listed below are the all-important fine-print cost details for SogoTrade.com:
|Stock Trades||Options Base||Options Contract||Minimum Deposit||Mutual Funds|
Sogotrade does have options to lower trades to as low as $3 per trade. One option is to pre-purchase 20 trades. The other method is perform more than 50 trades per month, and you automatically get $3.00 per trade.
There’s no recurring/periodic account maintenance or inactivity fees on individual, taxable accounts. If you want a paper statement it’s $5 month, and free to receive online. IRA account unfortunately have a $30 annual IRA fee, but there’s no fee for opening an IRA.
Visit their web site for the complete listing of SogoTrade’s fees. They also feature a very nice comparison of their fees to other major brokerages.
Online Account Interface and User Experience
Overall, SogoTrade’s online account/user interface offers the tools you need to execute trades without many added bells-and-whistles (which is what you’d come to expect from a low-cost leader in online stock trading).
Once you fill out all of the account sign-up forms and log in to your account, you’ll see a screen like the one in the image pasted below. Shown on this “starting” screen are the normal account details one would expect to see, including your cash balance, market value of your holdings, amount of cash you have available for trading, and total account equity. The screen also shows the current status of any open stock trading orders you have as well as a snap-shot of your portfolio positions and the market value over time of your total portfolio.
In order to get a more detailed view of what’s going on with your portfolio holdings, you can navigate on the “start” page to the “account” drop-down menu and click the “account positions” menu selection. When you do this, a screen similar to the one in the image below appears.
Along with showing the normal investment holding details (ticker symbol, price per share, no. of shares, total purchase cost, market value, and % and $ value gain/loss), one fairly interesting feature of this tool is that it displays a pie chart that shows a breakdown of your portfolio by long and short positions. As you can see in the screenshot below, I don’t currently have any short positions, however, this is a very useful tool to quickly capture the overall components of your portfolio.
Another important SogoTrade online account feature that I almost always have to use at tax time to tally up my stock gains/losses each year is the “account history” menu feature. An example of what this feature looks like is shown below. Using this feature, you can look up your stock purchase, dividend, commission, and selling records from a two year period.
On the positive, SogoTrade is currently the lowest brokerage available, though you have to be a frequent trader or prepay for trades.
However, being a low-cost leader in stock trades, do not expect a lot of extra “bells-and-whistles” or help researching which stock to buy. SogoTrade assumes that you have done this research independently. Options traders might want to look at OptionsHouse or optionXpress as more feature filled alternatives.
Additionally, SogoTrade is not the best/lowest cost option for purchasing mutual funds. If you are looking to invest in that type of security, we would recommend another broker. In addition, with many commission free ETFs available at other firms, can save you considerable transaction fees as well.
For an IRA, SogoTrade is not recommended. There are many other low cost brokers like TradeKing that don’t charge for maintaining an IRA account.