IB or Swissquote for EU nationals

Hi all. My husband and I are just about to start our investment portfolio, but we have few questions and would appreciate your advice. We are EU nationals currently living in the UAE, but we plan to retire in the EU. We intend to open a joint account either with IB or Swissquote Luxemburg, but cannot decide which one. I would appreciate your advice on the below.

  1. If we open a joint account with IB or Swissquote, can we both be the owners of the account?

2)If we open an IB account and invest in Irish domiciled ETFs, in case of a death of one of the account holders, will the account be frozen until the inheritance issues are sorted out or will the other account holder become 100% owner of the account?

3)Between IB and Swissquote which one would you recommend for someone who is very new to investing? I understand that IB has much less fees that Swissquote. Is this correct?

Thanks a lot.

Hi, this board is focused on discussing those topics related to Swiss nationals/residents. I don’t think any of us have much experience beyond that (or that the board wants to broaden it’s focus).

Potentially there are other forums (reddit?) elsewhere where some people could help?

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Hi thanks for this. I didn’t know the forum is only for Swiss nationals.

With IB yes, with SQ LU most probably also (possible with SQ CH). If you are planning to move, IB is probably better.

It is not! It is just so that many things related to investments, mostly around the taxes, are very county-specific. Our community knows a great deal about the system in Switzerland, but not necessarily in other countries.

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thanks a lot. It makes sense as each country has different laws especially when it comes to taxes etc. Is IB generally a better platform compared to SQ or is it more personal preference?

Both platforms are respectable brokers. IB’s big advantage is its very low costs (and asset protection of up to 500k USD compared with 100k CHF for SQ)

You probably can with both. Keep in mind that brokers exact terms may be different in different country branches - and most Swiss residents on the forum will hold their accounts with IB U.K. or Swissquote CH (rather than in Luxembourg).


That’s a fourth question, not part of the third.

A personal preference AND the fact that IB has a global presence. If you move to another country, your IB account is going to be transferred to another entity. How other brokers handle such situations and if you will be able to open an account with SQ LU at all, I have no idea.

Furthermore, I don’t understand why you limit yourself to IB and SQ. There are tons of cheap and reliable EU brokers, in particular German ones.

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A big reason why I switched to IB is that if I move abroad I can easily transfer my account. Doing this with Swissquote is either not possible or will cost you a fortune. Share transfer or selling and rebuying are at least 2 orders of magnitude more expensive with SQ. You could also look into Degiro, but tbh they’re quite shady and I would not trust them with my full estate.

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FWIW foreign brokers can be annoying as they sometimes require more tax paperwork. (Esp. in countries where there’s automatic transmission of data so that no data entry is required for the most part).

So it might very well depend on the country you intent to reside in.

Is SQ easier to navigate?

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Could you recommend any other brokers please as we habe only heard about IB asm SQ. The issue is that we do not reside in Europe at the moment. Also, we would like to invest in Vanguard ETFs

There is a bogleheads subforum for the UAE maybe they can help you too.
If you limit yourself to IB/SQ as a newbie you’d probably feel more comfortable using SQ. IB can be a tad bit more complicated but in my opinion very well worth the short learning curve.

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I suppose so.

IBKR has roots in being a broker for professionals and experienced investors. They’ve made some strides at consumerising their product with their new online portal and GlobalTrader lately, I’ve found them harder to grasp than most (any) other European broker I’ve been with - though I admittedly have no experience with Swissquote in particular.

European Vanguard ETFs are available at most European brokers. U.S. ones? Probably not on most, if supervised by EU authorities (unlike Swissquote).

Already mentioned Degiro that is being always treated with a suspicion

Flatex I personally had found the best from all EU brokers that I had looked at

DKB, comdirect, Smartbroker, trading212, Consors, Trade Republic, Scalable capital.

Ireland or US?

Well… both have been the same company for a while now, haven’t they? :wink:

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You are absolutely right, however I don’t remember dozens of posts asking if flatex is a scam.

Side note:

What about U.S. estate (inheritance) tax for nonresident investors?

It’s not just the duration of an account freeze. If anyone (that’s not a multimillionaire yet) on this forum should ask the question about U.S. estate tax, it’s probably you. You may not only have to take the time effort to sort it out with Uncle Sam - you may (possibly) also have to pay U.S. taxes, especially when you’re not subject to the (beneficial) U.S-Swiss double taxation agreement.

„even without any other connections to the US, non‑US individual investors holding shares of outperforming securities at death may leave a US estate tax bill.“

US Estate tax : Swiss "Sonderfall"

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Ireland. Do you know of any other brokers to recommend?

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I believe if you invest in Irish domiciled ETFs you are not subject to US inheritance tax.

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