SogoTrade Review 2021: Fees, Services and More

Eric Reed
·8 min read
Woman uses SogoTrade
Woman uses SogoTrade

Do not get paid to trade. Free money schemes are never your friend. In finance, as with most walks of life, the best tools are generally boring and don’t need such incentives to try a product. SogoTrade is no different. There is one key area of investing, though, where SogoTrade comes in as a strong option, and it will be discussed below. Meantime, consider working with a financial advisor as you set financial goals and create a strategy for building an investment portfolio.

Services & Features: What Does SogoTrade Offer?

SogoTrade is a budget-oriented full-service trading platform. This means that it offers most mainstream assets along with some access to research and technical data, but historically its niche has been to offer trading at low prices. As the past several years have seen most trading platforms move toward the zero-commission model this has left SogoTrade increasingly without an identity. It continues to feel like the budget option that it has always been, yet in a market where its prices no longer make it substantially competitive.

Investors on SogoTrade can trade in stocks, ETFs, options, bonds and mutual funds. You can also trade cryptocurrency through the SogoTrade portal, but this is not a feature offered by the platform itself. Instead cryptocurrency trading is supported by a third party platform (Apex Crypto) and SogoTrade will link your account to that service.

This platform offers several ways to trade. In addition to web-based (browser) trading you can also download SogoTrade’s desktop client and apps for both the iOS and Android. These products all support broadly similar features.

In addition, SogoTrade has created a dedicated options trading platform called SogoOptions. SogoOptions gives a wide range of data, including a terrific set of technical indicators and tools. In this it is an exception to much of the rest of SogoTrade’s products. However, while this is marketed as the platform for really serious options traders, it’s important to note that SogoOptions ultimately offers substantially the same product that other full-service trading platforms do without creating a separate trading space.

Readers should also be aware of SogoElite. This is yet another independently branded trading portal offered by SogoTrade. SogoElite is a downloadable desktop platform offered only to investors with more than $100,000 in assets. It is aimed at day traders and other high-volume investors as it offers very fast, low-latency trading for investors to whom seconds matter. While this is a potentially very useful tool, the reactions to SogoElite tend to be mixed. Traders report a wide variety of experiences with its low-latency offers, with some saying that it does not always provide the routing and speed necessary to truly support modern day trading.

Beyond this, perhaps the most prominent feature that SogoTrade advertises is its Get Paid To Trade promotion. It is an unfortunate mark of the overall quality of SogoTrade that it emphasizes this feature as, not only do cash rebates say little about a trading platform’s overall value, but in this case the program simply isn’t even that good. Get Paid To Trade offers a $1 cash back rebate for every 1,000 shares of stock you trade when – and only when – that order meets certain qualifications.

If you are an extraordinarily active day trader, you may see some money back from this program. Everyone else might earn enough to buy a latte, eventually.

Borrowing from its history, SogoTrade offers a limited amount of data compared to other major investment platforms. Although it heavily advertises its SogoTrade Morning Call and Trade Ideas (yet two more independently branded features), ultimately these are limited and fairly thin amounts of original analysis compared to the volume of research offered by competing platforms. Investors generally cannot customize their data sets or toolkits, and technical indicators are generally limited to the basic information such as pricing and trade data.

Finally, SogoTrade offers a version of paper trading that it has branded the SogoPlay tool. This is a fairly standard modeling tool that lets you simulate trading to see how different positions affect your portfolio. As with many aspects of SogoTrade it is mainly confusing because the service has chosen to independently brand what is a noteworthy, but not remarkable, feature of its platform.

Fees: How Much Does SogoTrade Cost?

As an investor you should generally look for four types of fees attached to an online trading platform:

  • Trading Fees – Any charge attached to each trade that you make. This can come in the form of a flat fee, or more often will be based on the “spread.” This is the difference, if any, between the buying and the selling price of an asset.

  • Trading Commissions – This is when a broker will charge you a percentage based on the volume or value of each trade, based on the value of assets in a specific investment, or based on the total value of assets in the portfolio.

  • Inactivity Fees – Any fees that the broker charges you for not trading, such as if it charges you for keeping money in a brokerage account.

  • Non-Trading/Other Fees – Any form of fee for trading on this platform not covered above. For example, a brokerage might charge you for making deposits into your brokerage account or taking money out.

SogoTrade is remarkably expensive for a platform, which built its reputation on being the low-cost alternative in the market. Perhaps more importantly, its pricing structure is simply confusing.

SogoTrade heavily advertises $0 commissions on stock trading. This is not the entire picture. The reality is that the firm offers free trading on limit orders only, and only when placed in quantities of 100 shares or more. Market orders and smaller trades have a $2.88 commission. (In other words, if you buy or sell at the listed price, you pay a commission of $2.88.) Penny stocks incur an additional commission based on the overall price of the transaction.

Options contracts cost $0.50 per contract to trade, somewhat lower than many competing services but still more expensive than others. Mutual funds are generally no-fee to trade.

Investors can use broker-assisted trading for an additional $25. At the time of writing, margin rates began at 9.75% for trades below $10,000.

There is no account minimum, but withdrawing money will cost between $5 and $75 depending on how you process the transaction.

Effectiveness: How Well Does SogoTrade Work?

Man using an online trading platform
Man using an online trading platform

SogoTrade is confusing in many of the wrong ways. It is confusing to find out just how much a transaction on this service will cost. It is confusing to sort out the vast jumble of independently branded products and platforms that make up the entirety of this trading platform. Between its four desktop platforms, its app interface and its website, a single user might have as many as six different ways of interacting with the service. Trading stocks requires one interface, trading options another. Getting information requires pulling up the Trade Ideas brand while modeling a trade requires pulling up SogoTrade Play.

Other platforms manage to do all of this under one name.

Investors buying stocks, bonds and mutual funds will use SogoTrade’s main brand, SogoTrade Trader. This is a limited tool. It offers you few options to customize your trading environment, and similarly lacks the ability to create custom data sets or research tools. Finding the right asset isn’t hard, but neither is it easy, and the amount of data at your fingertips is light at best.

The same is true for SogoTrade’s sophisticated product SogoElite. While considerably deeper than SogoTrade, the elite platform is similarly lacking compared to comparable products from other trading platforms online. Serious traders won’t find the range of data, technical analysis or fundamental analysis that they count on, and day traders might find that the platform’s promised speed simply doesn’t live up to expectations.

Options traders, on the other hand, might find something to love here. SogoOptions is actually a very good options trading tool. While it is odd that SogoTrade has created a standalone trading space for options, within this toolkit you will find a sophisticated and useful platform. SogoOptions presents the kind of technical data that options traders depend on (and that their equities space lacks), and has quick links to help you create many of the most common trading positions. It is an oddly specific thing for SogoTrade to excel at, but they have created a surprisingly good options trading tool wrapped in an otherwise mediocre platform.

The Bottom Line

Man using SogoTrade at home on his PC
Man using SogoTrade at home on his PC

If you want to focus on trading options contracts and don’t care about much else, SogoTrade may be the product for you. SogoOptions is a strong, versatile toolkit that creates one of the better options trading spaces this reviewer has seen. If this is not you, if you are either not interested in options or would like to build a more diverse portfolio, then move along. There are better, cheaper products on the market.

Investing Tips to Meet Your Return Goals

  • Should you focus on equities? Should you sink your money into options? Should you start investing heavily in futures? (No.) Whatever you’re thinking of buying, make sure you do so with the right financial advice. SmartAsset’s matching tool can help you find a financial professional in your area to help you build an asset-oriented plan that makes sure your portfolio matches your goals. If you’re ready, get started now.

  • Smart investing means choosing the right strategy, not just jumping into the pool to chase the next shiny object. In our article on choosing an investment strategy we walk you through some of the most popular choices and how to choose among them.

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