SogoTrade Review

By Ryan Downie  | October 5, 2017

SogoTrade offers a basic, cheap trading platform with limited access to special features and proprietary tools

Overall Rating

2.5/
5.0
Products & Fees
3.5
Trust
3.3
Special Features
1.7
Desktop Experience
4.0
Mobile Experience
2.5
Customer Support
1.9
Research & Insights
4.2
Education
1.4

Fast Facts

SogoTrade is a low-cost, relatively basic broker that does not strive to add value through a robust array of features and products. The platform is designed to comfortably meet the needs of the do-it-yourself crowd, but it is light on advanced features that might be valuable for experienced traders or training programs that could be helpful for novice users.

pros

  • Numerous Investments
    Offers domestic stocks, international stocks, options, ETFs and mutual funds
  • Low Cost
    Trading fees and other costs are low relative to the averages for top brokers
  • Basic Education
    Educational materials and research meet the basic needs for investors of various experience levels
  • Asset Management
    Asset management and advisory services available through robo powered by MarketRiders
  • Options
    Options platform helps less experienced users develop and review trading strategies

cons

  • Investment Options
    Does not offer bonds, fixed income, futures, currencies, or commodities
  • Tools
    Limited tools and special features in comparison to larger brokers, especially for advanced users
  • Mobile
    Mobile version does lack some features that are available on desktop, such as asset transfer and research
  • Security
    No two-factor authentication or guarantees for unauthorized activity
  • Specialized Education
    Educational materials, analysis tools and research are largely not proprietary, adding little unique value
  • Customer Support
    Customer support hours are limited 7am to 8pm EST
  • Banking
    No banking functionalities such as checking, credit cards or mortgage loans

Products & Fees

3.5

SogoTrade offers a platform for basic options and equity security trading that is suited for more speculative, active investors. Investors seeking access to fixed income products or more advanced categories such as futures, currencies and commodities will need to look elsewhere. SogoTrade is generally cheaper than the largest retail brokerage services. Other fees apply to a variety of situations. Stocks under $1 are subject to a small surcharge (either 0.25% of principal or $0.0003/share up to 10% of principal). Paper confirmations and statements range from $5 to $15. Options expiration management is $75 plus $0.50 per contract. Wire fund transfers range from $20 to $50 depending on international or domestic destination. IRAs are free to set up, but there is a $35 annual fee and it costs $60 to close an IRA. Accounts and trades are also subject to SEC fees.

  • Stocks & ETFs*
    $4.88 per trade
  • Options
    $4.88 + $0.50 per contract
  • Options Exercises and Assignments
    $15
  • Mutual Funds**
    $25 per trade
  • Penny Stocks: OTCBB and Pink Sheets***
    Via Trade Desk
  • Futures
    Not Available
  • Forex
    Not Available

Trust

3.3

SogoTrade is a member of the SIPC, meaning customer accounts are covered for up to $500,000 of securities or $250,000 of cash. Apex Clearing Corporation, which provides clearing services for SogoTrade, has an additional coverage in the event that SIPC limits are exceeded. The Apex policy’s limits provide protection for maximum limits of $37.5 million for any one customer’s securities and $900,000 for any one customer’s cash, and overall securities and cash up to an aggregate of $150 million.

What you need to know

SogoTrade offers sufficient measures in the area of trust and security, but it falls short of being exemplary. The company is a member of both FINRA and the SIPC, and login requires multiple levels of security clearance. However, the broker does not use multi-factor authentication, and it provides no security guarantee for unauthorized account activity. SogoTrade’s website does offer some helpful tips for data protection and the appropriate actions in the event that an account holder’s identity is compromised.

Special Features

1.7
Special Features

SogoTrade is somewhat lacking in the special features category. The only special features not covered in other sections of the review are advisory and portfolio management services. Though these are helpful additions to the platform, they do not set SogoTrade apart.

What you need to know

Knowing that SogoTrade is meant to be lean and inexpensive, it should come as no surprise that the platform’s special features are limited. Advisory services are available, and robo portfolio management is a strong feature that is gaining prominence in the retail investor world. Nonetheless, investors should look elsewhere for perks like execution price guarantees, speed execution or strategy backtesting functions. This bare-bones approach does not necessarily favor any particular experience level, but it is likely more appealing for the do-it-yourself user who does not expect extensive assistance from a simple trading program.

Desktop Experience

4.0
Desktop Platform Experience

SogoTrade delivers a functional trading platform for stocks, ETFs and options. The basics for capable trading are all met, and users will see a dashboard with the quotes, charts and journals that investors have come to expect. However, more advanced functions are missing, which could be problematic for certain traders that rely on tools such as custom charting for success. Users relying on custom alerts will also be frustrated with SogoTrade.

Pros

SogoTrade covers the basics within its selected product categories, and it offers a sufficiently functional trading platform to users. There are charting functions alongside quotes and recent historical pricing and return statistics. The options-specific trading platform is even more feature rich, with chains, strategies and tools functions. The strategies tab allows users to identify and launch a number of common trading techniques, then review adopted strategies. The tools section includes profitability calculators, risk charts and other functions to quantify potential outcomes. Many traders will enjoy after-hours quotes and trading, which is helpful for people on specific schedules or in other time zones

Cons

SogoTrade’s desktop experience is less robust than those of larger brokers with a broader soup-to-nuts approach. There are limitations to the number of products offered and some of the tools available for analysis. Advanced technical traders will likely find the charting section lacking. Customization and drawing are limited here, making it difficult to identify and track opportunities and risks in the portfolio. Users cannot save charts workspaces, there is no paper trading available and there is no opportunity to import custom indicators. Conditional orders are also unavailable. Mutual fund products can only be purchased through a broker-assisted channel, which adds to cost.

Mobile Experience

2.5
Mobile Platform Experience

SogoTrade has a functional mobile platform with the more relevant features to assist account holders. However, the trading platform is relatively spare when compared to the more robust mobile products of competitors. SogoTrade mobile is fine for occasional users who do most of their work from a desktop or laptop, butactive traders who use mobile devices extensively will likely desire a richer set of mobile-specific functionalities.

Pros

SogoTrade has developed a mobile-specific trading platform that allows users to conduct many of the same trading activities offered through the desktop version. Quotes are delayed 15 minutes, but this may not matter as much to less active traders. Users can edit and monitor watchlists, place trades and browse market news. SogoTrade also has apps on both iOS and Android platforms. Some of the functions include streaming charts, quotes and watchlists, a news feed and the ability to trade options as well as stocks.

Cons

The limited mobile trading platform does not facilitate money transfers, so users will have to visit the SogoTrade website directly to conduct any account management functions. The mobile apps on both the Apple iTunes store and the Google Play store have relatively low reviews: 2.5 and 2.75 stars respectively. Users most often complain that the app won’t let them log in.

Customer Support

1.9

SogoTrade offers a call center and an email service for customer service matters. Inexperienced investors who are likely to require substantial guidance or attention from customer service may find the limited hours and lack of a dedicated chat service lacking.

What you need to know

In line with its streamlined, low-cost niche, SogoTrade has a customer service system that will be sufficient for many but not all users. Customer service can be reached a variety of ways, but only 13 hours per day. In lieu of hands-on attention, the site contains an FAQ that covers a variety of basic topics including account management, trading, funding and margin trading. Do-it-yourself investors will find the answers to many questions satisfied in the various pages of the help section, and those willing to wait until extended business hours for direct help should find sufficient support. SogoTrade is probably less satisfactory for users expecting more extensive assistance.

Research & Insights

4.2

SogoTrade does not set itself apart with research or insights, but it does create value for its users through the available materials. Resources for fundamental analysis are more extensive than those for technical analysis, though both strategies are covered. SogoTrade substantially bolsters is research offering by partnering with ValueEngine.

SEC Filings
Review company statements and releases directly
Fundamental Analysis
Income statement and balance sheet data available
ValueEngine
Research reports on stocks, industries and sectors
News
Headlines are featured right on the overview pages for stocks
Morning Call
A daily newsletter with equity research and trade ideas
OptionsPlay
Options screening and trade ideas platform

Pros

SogoTrade offers a number of basic financial data points along with news, a morning email blast and third-party equity research. Options traders will find value in SogoPlay, which provides resources based on fundamental and technical analysis. SogoPlay offers trade ideas and screening tools, and users can easily translate this advice into action.

Cons

SogoTrade offers very little in terms of proprietary research and insights. The trading data and financial information for stocks available on SogoTrade’s website is almost all available for free elsewhere, and more in-depth ratio analysis is provided on free and pay-wall-protected platforms elsewhere. SogoTrade necessarily has fewer resources to draw upon than the largest brokers, so they do not benefit from the scale that allows large teams to economically create unique research reports.

Education

1.4

SogoTrade does a good job of providing basic information and outsourcing more advanced education topics. Do not expect to become an expert or intermediate trader from the resources available through this brokerage. Instead, SogoTrade can lay a good educational base and help beginners know the relevant topics to dive into deeper elsewhere.

What you need to know

SogoTrade’s educational offering reflects its goal to be a low-frills, inexpensive brokerage service. There is a substantial education section, so resources are not lacking for beginners. SogoTrade outsources some materials, notably on options trading. Intermediate and advanced users probably will not find much value in the education section, so there are limited opportunities to advance your development as an investor outside of gaining trading experience from trading.

Banking

SogoTrade has limited banking functions due to its focus on streamlined, inexpensive trading functions. It is not costly to move funds from SogoTrade to external banking accounts, but users will need to look elsewhere for their banking needs.

What you need to know

SogoTrade is not meant to offer comprehensive personal financial solutions to account holders. It therefore does not offer checking or savings accounts, mortgage banking or credit cards. Other brokers are probably better suited for investors who want banking services bundled with trading, but that is not SogoTrade’s target market. Once again, more advanced investors seeking simple, cheap trading will find their needs met here with limited extraneous frills.

Bottom Line

SogoTrade’s stated goal is to provide suitable discount brokerage services for retail investors, and they achieve that goal. The company creates value and provides cheap services by outsourcing educational, training and research functions. The trading platforms are somewhat basic, as the company has not invested heavily into sophisticated data research or technical charting tools. SogoTrade has valuable features for many types of investors, but it is likely most appropriate for higher volume, do-it-yourself traders with some experience and sufficient analytical resources available off the platform. Discounts are available if you buy trade packages, and low-cost services are the crux of SogoTrade’s value proposition. Investors who are not relying on the analytical tools provided by the broker are less likely to realize the shortcomings caused by less robust special features on SogoTrade. The educational materials available on this site are not sufficient to allow beginning investors to craft a personalized, principled approach. SogoTrade is not a broad, soup-to-nuts personal finance and investment hub, but it is not designed to occupy that role.

Ryan Downie
Reviewed by Ryan Downie

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