[Broker Choice] Details on brokers

I thought it would be interesting to have a thread on costs/details on using different brokers (e.g. Interactive Brokers, CornèrTrader, etc), provided by people who’ve used them in the past and therefore have good first-hand information. If there is additional information you’d like to see listed, just let me know. I’ll start off by adding my current broker, CornèrTrader:

Cost of funding trading account:

  • Swiss transfer: none.
  • International transfer: unknown.
    Transaction costs: 0,2%, 20CHF minimum (for accounts under 75’000CHF under management), 0,12%, 18CHF minimum otherwise.
    Handling of dividends in USD:
  • client has no USD account: will be credited in CHF using the following conversion: spot price + 0,5%.
  • client has USD account: will be credited directly in USD.
    Getting the money out (e.g. wire transfer of dividends):
  • in CHF: no commissions/fees on wire transfer (also possible using a debit card issued by CT, 50CHF/yr).
  • in USD: possible to transfer to a USD account at another bank (e.g. free PostFinance USD account), no fees.

To have a good analysis, I would add criterias:

-Cost to transfer money to the broker account (Swiss transfer, international transfer)
-Forex cost
-U.S dividends reimbursement

@wapiti: regarding forex cost and U.S. dividends reimbursement, the way I see it that’s already covered in my post (although it is quite possible I’m missing something). Can you be more specific in what’s missing?

Good Resources:

I think Cornèr Trader is great if you want to invest in ETFs.
However, a big drawback for investors in stocks like me is that their fees on US stocks can be quite high : 4 cents per share. It is not a lot if you buy an ETF quoting at 100 or 200 dollars, but for a Net net investor willing to invest in (for instance) MSN or RBCN, quoting respectively at 0.58$ and 1.20$, the fee is exorbitant! (respectively between 7% and 3%) => for this reaseon i did not switch to Cornèr.

One broker you don’t hear a lot about is De Giro. They seem to really be among the cheaper ones in Switzerland, but the fact that they are quite new on the market can be intimidating. if their Balance sheet get strong enough in the near future, they could be a great mustachian broker!

Julianek, which broker do you find best for your net net strategy from a cost pov ?

I am currently at SaxoBank but I am not satisfied with the fees they charge for currency conversion (0.5% per trade => if you buy then sell US equity, that would be a fee of 1% total for currency conversion).

So far I would say that IB would be good if you don’t mind having your assets in an US company (that is the bad deal for me : when I see how the IRS is expanding year after year its definition of “US citizen” from a tax point of view, i think it would not be impossible that they start taxing assets on the books of US companies).

Otherwise, I am waiting to see how is faring De giro. If they keep getting more market share in the next years, I think I will gladly move my assets to their books.

Anyone willing to write up the details of Interactive Brokers?

Interactive Brokers

Regarding transaction costs their page is quite detailed (https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=1590&p=stocks1) and until now - to my personal experience - accurate. For ETFs usually 0.1% with the exception of LSE-USD (0.05%).

Forex costs usually between 2.5 and 5 CHF (no broker spread, you buy/sell at market price).

Transfer costs depend from your bank(s) policy and currencies involved.
Transfers in CHF go to England, transfers in EUR to Germany (should go through SEPA) and transfers in USD to USA.
As far as I’ve seen, IB shouldn’t withhold anything, so if your bank allows it, choose “Expenses borne by beneficiary (BEN)”. This doesn’t avoid “intermediary” costs though (with Migros Bank I chose once “shared” and once “beneficiary” and it costed me the same 5 CHF…).

Dividends will be credited in their own currency; as I opened the account two months ago I’ll wait till the first VWRD distribution (31.03) to see what I get and in which form…

If you have other questions feel free to ask.

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One thing that I don’t see mentioned is that cornertrader is part of corner bank, a traditional Swiss bank. For instance I can imagine it would be quite easy to “pledge” your assets and ETF as part of the 20% you need to put down as own capital to buy a home. Or opening a line of credit based on your invested asset to be used as emergency fund. The combination of traditional bank (mortgage) and good, quite cheap investment broker is a killer combination. I’m planning to pledge my etf in the future to buy a home, so that I’m not forced to sell


Thanks for the information @weirded. Regarding the forex rates, I tried the demo account last week and got the impression that there were hidden fees as part of the exchange rate used (as high as 0.33%). Granted, I didn’t do an in-depth exploration. Was that just a wrong reading on my part?

@pombeirp when I did my forex transactions I first checked the real time bid/ask prices here (http://www.finanzen.ch/devisen/realtimekurs/dollarkurs) and placed a limited order.

Afaik the real time prices are available only during the trading day -> I’m not able to find them anymore now.
Next time I’ll do a swap I’ll try to write down the bid/ask prices in order to preserve the info for future use.
How do you see these hidden fees ?

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Sounds great, thanks.

Regarding the hidden fees, I was just comparing the exchange rate of the simulated USD purchase with the one that Google gave me.

OK, did a currency conversion today and checked the rate.

CHF_USD 13:58:38 realtime Kurs, BID = 1.0072, ASK = 1.0076, IB transaction at 1.0074

cheers !

Nice, thanks for posting the info. That looks too good to be true!

So is there anything preventing me of using IB to have cheap currency conversion to my bank in Portugal instead of using something like TransferWire (which charges a 0.5% spread)?

Nothing prevents you from that. But keep in mind bank payment fees, IB’s minimum balance requirement and monthly fee.

For smaller amounts it may be worth to give revolut a try. They closed it in Switzerland, but you can sign up if you have an EU address

Didn’t know about Revolut, looks nice! Apparently they are open in Switzerland again, but you still can’t get a credit card from them. Too bad you can’t top up with CHF for the moment. I do have an EU address, but would need to top it up with CHF instead of EUR.

This one is also nice: https://www.imaginecurve.com. It allows you to aggregate all your credit cards into the one they issue, and switch in real time using the phone. You get charged SPOT+1% for currency conversions, which is still cheaper than my other credit cards (1.5% CHF and 2.4% EUR). Charges are made to your chosen card as if they were a national purchase.

I am also at Saxo but I just found out about the holdingfees and the inactivity fee.
Also not overly satisfied with the fees. They have apretty beautiful interface though and allowed me to have a USD and a CHF account (I do not know if this is special).
Cornèr Trader does look very interresting since there seem to be no yearly fees but I will have to check that and run the numbers (hell even suissquote looks cheaper in my spreadsheet now).

I was under the impression there were no yearly fees with saxo when I made the account but I guess that was an error on my part.

Cornèr Trader uses Saxo Bank’s trading platform, right?