Independent Review Swissquote Bank

Founded in 1997
Headquarters in Switzerland

Introduction to Swissquote

Website: https://www.swissquote.ch/index/index_quote_e.html

Swissquote Bank launched over two decades ago in 1996 and not long after (2000) it became a publicly traded company on the SIX Swiss stock exchange, using the ticker symbol SQN. Since that time, it has grown to over 340,000 client accounts throughout Europe and Asia. Most recently, the acquisition of InternaxX bank in March 2019 brought the assets under management at Swissquote to over 35 billion Swiss francs ($35.25 billion).

Because it is a publically listed company and a Swiss bank with the required banking license, Swissquote scores very high on the trust scale. Plus, they give their clients access to more than just a few simple assets. Traders can access futures, options, warrants, equities, bonds, forex, ETFs, funds, and an array of CFD products. In addition, the services offered extend to wealth management and advisory services.

Swissquote not only caters to retail clients but can also accommodate institutional clients and money managers.

Because of the safety and broad-based offerings, they may not be the least expensive broker though, and some have said its fees on certain products are high when compared with discount brokers.

Swissquote Bank has the distinction of being the very first global bank to add cryptocurrency trading (non-CFDs) to its platform. This includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. They’ve also made it possible for clients in some jurisdictions to withdraw directly to an external cryptocurrency wallet.

While they support an extensive range of assets in their trading account, the number of currencies accessible in the forex account is limited to less than 100 currency pairs in the forex account.

Technical traders will be interested to know that besides its own proprietary Advanced Trader platform, Swissquote also offers MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 as trading platforms. All three platforms are available as desktop applications, web-based applications, and mobile applications.

When it comes to special features, they are lacking when compared with other brokers. You won’t find real social trading here, but you can find automated trading as part of the Robo-Advisor platform.

When it comes to research and other tools, Swissquote comes out about average when compared with other brokers. Clients have access to free analyst reports via email and can get both fundamental and technical analysis. However, not all research is free.

There are also webinars and videos available on the platform that covers everything from the basics of trading to advanced risk-management techniques. And real-time news is provided as part of the eTrader platform.

Quick Look at Swissquote Bank

As part of the research process to write this review, we set up a demo account with Swissquote and accessed their website and their mobile trading platform. Opening a demo account was straight-forward and quick.

One thing to note is that there are three different accounts.

  1. The first is the eTrader account that gives access to trading stocks, funds, options, and futures. The Swiss arm of Swissquote oversees this and it is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
  2. The second account is for currency and CFD trading and is the UK arm of Swissquote, with oversight provided by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK regulating agency.
  3. Finally there is a Robo-advisory service available, which is also part of the Swiss arm of Swissquote. It’s an interesting addition that allows you to take advantage of automated trading strategies.

The eTrader platform is clearly laid out, and orders are easy to place, with little lag. The forex account allows you to use three different platforms, including the proprietary Advanced Trader alongside MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Each forex platform is available as a desktop, web or mobile version. We found the web version of the Advanced Trader to be just slightly slow to load, but placing, modifying, and closing orders was simple and fast.

The Robo-advisory platform took the most time because you create your own trading strategy, which is then back tested. It’s a very interesting aspect of the platform though, and could yield good results in the right hands.

Overall, the platforms have something for everyone, whether they be new traders or experienced market veterans. I believe the eTrader platform would be easiest to grasp. The forex platform is good but requires knowledge about forex trading to grasp easily, and the Robo-advisory platform is clearly for intermediate to advanced traders with in-depth knowledge of markets.

Swissquote Bank Regulations & Licenses

Swissquote Group Holding Ltd, based in Gland, Switzerland, is the parent company, operating Swissquote Bank Ltd, also based in Gland. Swissquote Bank Ltd has three primary subsidiaries: Swissquote Ltd in London, Swissquote MEA Ltd, in Dubai, and Swissquote Asia Ltd, based in Hong Kong. In addition to these three Swissquote Financial Service (Malta) Ltd is based in Mriehel, Malta.

Each individual branch is regulated in its jurisdiction, with the following regulatory bodies:

  • Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) regulates Swissquote Bank Ltd.
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reference number 562170, regulates Swissquote Ltd. in London.
  • Securities Futures Commission (SFC) regulates Swissquote Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong.
  • Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) regulates Swissquote MEA in Dubai.
  • Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) regulates Swissquote Financial Services in Mriehel, Malta.
  • Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) regulates activities in Singapore, where Swissquote is planning on expanding. This banking license was acquired by Swissquote in August 2019.

Languages

They make the website available in 10 languages, however the eTrading platform, forex trading platform, and Robo-advisor are offered in English, German, French, and Italian, which could pose a problem for some traders. One good thing is that customer support is available in 15 different languages.

Swissquote Bank Account types

eTrader Accounts

The eTrader account allows access to roughly 3 million tradeable products, which includes nearly 100,000 derivative products. It comes with its own unique trading platform and is available to clients in 120 countries across the globe. Some notable countries where Swissquote is not available: USA, Canada, Japan, and Malaysia.

Forex Trading Accounts

They provide forex trading from Swissquote Ltd. in the U.K. Forex accounts are available in roughly 150 countries around the world, with the notable exceptions of the U.S., Canada, and Japan. In addition to nearly 100 currency pairs available on the platform, you’ll also find several dozen commodity pairs to trade.

The forex accounts have four different types: Premium, Prime, Elite, and Professional.

Swissquote Bank Forex Trading Accounts

These account types have several similarities. The maximum leverage is 1:100 for each. Expert Advisors and HFT are allowed. Each account type has negative balance protection and deposit protection of up to $50,000. Maintenance margins are 100 percent, and the stop-out level is 30 percent.

There are also differences in CFD based accounts versus actual forex trading accounts.

Below is a brief description of the differences for each forex account type:

  • Premium Accounts (CFD trading): Minimum €1,000 deposit, spreads from 1.3 pips, no commissions, and leverage is 1:30 for forex, 1:20 for indices and gold, and 1:10 for commodities. For non-CFD forex accounts, there is a minimum deposit of $1,000. There are no commissions on this account type, and spreads start at 1.7 pips. The minimum trade size is 0.01 lot.
  • Prime Accounts (CFD trading): Minimum €5,000 deposit, spreads from 0.6 pips, no commissions, and leverage is 1:30 for forex, 1:20 for indices and gold, and 1:10 for commodities. The non-CFD forex accounts spreads start at just 1.4 pips and the minimum deposit is $10,000. The minimum trade size is 0.1 lot.
  • Elite Accounts (CFD trading): Minimum €10,000 deposit, spreads from 0.0 pips, commissions of €2.5 per side per lot, and leverage is 1:30 for forex, 1:20 for indices and gold, and 1:10 for commodities. The non-CFD forex accounts have a minimum deposit of $50,000 and spreads start at just 1.1 pips. The minimum trade size is 1 full lot.
  • Professionals Accounts (CFD trading): Minimum €10,000 deposit, spreads from 0.0 pips, commissions of €2.5 per side per lot, and leverage is up to 1:400. The non-CFD forex accounts have custom spreads and pricing, with minimum deposits based on trade volumes. This account type does not have negative balance protection. Note that not everyone is eligible for a Professional Account.
Swissquote Bank Forex Trading Accounts

Who Is Eligible for a Professional Account?

There are three potential criteria for getting a Professional Account, and clients must meet at least two of these to become eligible for a Professional Account. These three criteria are:

  1. A minimum of one-year experience working in the financial industry in a position that requires knowledge of derivatives trading;
  2. The client must have a portfolio containing cash and/or investments of $500,000 minimum;
  3. The prospective client has traded derivatives at least ten times in the past four quarters. In this case, derivatives include forex, CFDs, futures, and spread bets.

Demo Account

All three types of accounts (eTrader, Forex, and Robo-Advisor) can open a demo account to test the platforms. The eTrader and Robo-Advisor accounts use the same login credentials, but the forex account requires a separate registration. The eTrader demo accounts come with CHF10,000 in virtual funds, and the Forex accounts come with $1,000 in virtual funds, but you can request up to $100,000. The Robo-Advisor account comes with CHF100,000 in virtual finds.

The eTrader demo account features:

  • Quick search for securities
  • Integrated watchlist
  • Trend Radar for daily analysis
  • Widgets for a personal workspace
  • The latest financial news

The demo accounts are full-featured to give you a complete overview of what to expect when trading with Swissquote. Demo accounts are good for 30 days.

Swissquote Fees, Costs & Spreads

Swissquote tries to provide competitive pricing to all their clients during regular market hours. Spreads run as low as 0.0 pips for CFD accounts, and as low as 1.1 pips for non-CFD accounts. Spreads also depend on the asset being traded. There are no commissions for most trading accounts, although the Elite and Professional level accounts have small commissions of €2.5 per side per trade. Note that spreads are variable and can become high after market hours and on the weekends, but that’s true at any broker.

Swissquote Bank Fees, Costs & Spreads

Those planning on trading stocks, ETFs and funds through Swissquote should know that these fees are much higher than fees for the same trades at other brokers, particularly discount broker fees. For example, a 1,000 share trade will cost $/€/£25. Many discount brokers are doing away with trading commissions completely, which makes Swissquote expensive by comparison.

Minimum deposits vary based on the type of account being opened, but start at $/€/£1,000 and can go as high as $50,000.

Swissquote does not charge any deposit or withdrawal fees, nor do they have termination fees or fees for dormant accounts.

Deposits & Withdrawals

Swissquote only accepts deposits through bank transfers from AA-rated banks or better, or through Visa and Mastercard credit cards. In either case, there are no transaction fees with deposits. Credit card deposits are available immediately, while bank transfers may take up to three business days to credit to your account. Swissquote does not accept deposits from electronic processors such as Paypal and Stripe. Clients can deposit in GBP, EUR, AUD, CHF, JPY, PLN, HUF, CZK, or USD.

Withdrawals are only possible via wire transfer. There is a withdrawal form to complete and send to Swissquote. This form must be signed and dated, and no postdating is allowed. It must also be transmitted to Swissquote within three days of the date on the form or they will not process it for security reasons.

In all cases, deposits and withdrawals are only possible to an account in the client’s name. Also note that your bank or credit card company may charge fees on any of these transactions.

Swissquote Bank Trading Platforms

Swissquote provides several trading platforms dependent on what assets you are trading. There is an eTrading platform for stocks, options, futures, bonds, and other assets. There is a separate platform for those using the Robo-Advisor platform. And there are three platforms available for forex trading: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and the proprietary Advanced Trader.

eTrading Platform

The main trading platform for non-forex assets is the proprietary eTrading platform. It is accessed directly from the Swissquote website and also has a mobile version. It is loaded with features and can be overwhelming at first as you search through all the different areas of the platform.

Swissquote Bank Trading Platforms

The eTrading platform contains a host of sub-platforms, all of which are proprietary to Swissquote. As you can see, there are sections for equity markets around the world as well as forex, crypto, indices, funds, options, warrants & derivatives, and even more.

There is also a news feed included in the platform, and a new offering from Swissquote called Pulse, which they call a social trading platform, but which is really nothing more than a messaging board.

The eTrading platform is available in English, French, and German only and there have been some reports that occasionally the platform will deliver content in any of those three languages, no matter where you’ve set it.

The platform has a clean feel to it and is easy to navigate, however, there is no way to customize it. The search feature is also difficult to use sometimes and will return results that are less than intuitive. For example, a search for “Apple” will return hundreds of results, none of which is AAPL stock traded in the U.S.

Swissquote Bank Trading Platforms

The mobile version of the eTrading app is less functional and provides the following features:

  • Direct market access to the world’s top stock exchanges and the listed stocks.
  • A live news feed that brings in the latest financial news, real-time.
  • Access to the trader’s Swissquote Bank account, price quotes, and a dynamic charting interface.

Robo-Advisor Platform

The Swissquote Robo-Advisor is available as both a web-based and a mobile platform, with the features being the same on both platforms. You can view the performance and status of your strategies, see the absolute returns, and select the level of risk for each strategy.

You can also switch between strategies easily and change the allocation of assets in each basket.

The Robo-Advisor is powerful, and there’s a large learning curve to figure out how to use it properly, but once you do, it can be a powerful addition to your investing tool-chest.

Swissquote Forex Trading Platforms

The Swissquote forex trading is primarily through the UK subsidiary, and Swissquote gives clients their choice of three different platforms, all of which have web-based, mobile, and desktop interfaces.

Traders who are already familiar with the award-winning MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms will be glad to learn that Swissquote offers both to their clients. These are two of the most powerful forex trading platforms available and are top-of-the-line in technical analysis tools.

All Swissquote clients using MT4 and MT5 have access to the chart pattern detection tool known as AutoChartist. This powerful plugin is free for Swissquote clients and can be beneficial in locating potential technical chart set-ups.

Swissquote Forex Trading Platforms

The tool uses algorithms to identify developing chart patterns. The AutoChartist feature also gives clients an advanced risk management tool by calculating a client’s real capital exposure in real-time and then setting risk-adjusted position sizes. The feature also allows for some limited back-testing to determine how a strategy would have performed in the past.

There are many other features available in MT4 and MT5, including:

  • Correlation trader: Shows what correlations to trade and which to avoid.
  • Sentiment Trader: Shows market sentiment for every asset listed on the MT4/MT5 platform.
  • Session map
  • Stealth orders and many others…

Besides the two MetaTrader platforms, there is also a proprietary Advanced Trader platform available. It also has web, mobile, and desktop versions.

One immediate downside to the Advanced Trader web-based interface is its reliance on Adobe Flash. This outdated technology isn’t even support be some browsers, and it really slows down performance. Perhaps Swissquote will move on to HTML5 soon.

Swissquote Advanced Trader platform

The desktop version is Java-based and functions better than the web version. It comes with several dozen indicators, integrated chart patterns, and drawing tools. You might wonder why a trader would choose the Advanced Trader platform over MT4 & MT5 and the answer is that Advanced Trader has a clean interface and is easier for a beginning trader to grasp.

Assets Available

It’s said that Swissquote (the Swiss version) has nearly 3 million assets available to trade. I honestly didn’t count to verify that, but I can say after spending some time going through the eTrading platform that it well could be true.

The UK subsidiary who offers forex and commodities has a far more limited selection of assets, with just under 100 currency pairs, around 20 commodity CFD pairs, almost 2 dozen index CFDs, and a few bond CFDs. Obviously, all the major currency pairs are available, and major commodities such as gold, silver, and oil are also represented.

Order Types

Swissquote Order Types

Traders can choose from four types of orders: limit orders, market orders, stop-loss orders, and trailing stop orders. The only thing missing are guaranteed stop orders. Clients can change or cancel orders before they are filled.

Notification and Alerts

It is possible to set up watchlists and alerts on the eTrading and Advanced Trader platforms, however, you can only receive your alerts via email, not through SMS. If you’re using MT4 for forex trading, you can use the alert and notification system in that software, which is easy to set-up.

Risk Management Tools

Risk management is not as strong as one would like at Swissquote due to the lack of guaranteed stops and SMS notifications. Swissquote also touts the Robo-Advisor platform to limit risks, but that’s only true for investors who have enough experience to set up valid strategies.

Swissquote Bank Education and Training

Like any good broker, this broker offers a range of educational materials to help clients and non-clients understand trading and improve their trading skills. The best place to begin is the Support Hub on the Swissquote website, where you’ll find links to educational materials about the platform and trading, and links to past webinars.

Forex traders can start at the Learning Center, which is chock-full of videos, guides, and a downloadable e-book explaining forex trading and strategies. There are sections dedicated to technical analysis, fundamental analysis, CFDs, and risk management. Despite the multi-lingual nature of the Swissquote website and platforms, the training materials are only available in English.

Swissquote Bank Customer Support

Swissquote offers customer support via phone, email, live chat, and through its social media accounts. The general customer service staff is available from 8:00 am though 18:00 pm CET Monday through Friday, but during off-hours, customer service questions go directly to the trading desk. In this way, Swissquote provides customer service 24/5, from 11 pm on Sunday through 11 pm on Friday. Support is available in multiple languages: Arabic, Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.

When tested on all channels, the customer service representatives were quick to respond, answering initial queries in under 1 minute. They were also willing to take ownership of any issues, providing additional materials, or researching and responding later to more complex issues. We encountered some reps who seemed rushed, but that could be because of peak volume times or internal metrics.

Independent Opinion & Rating

Overall, we’d say that Swissquote Bank has a rock-solid reputation. Not only is it a publically listed bank, but it’s also Swiss, and the Swiss are known for solid banking and security. Besides the headquarters in Switzerland where you can trade pretty much anything, there is also a London-based subsidiary providing forex and CFD trading.

When looking specifically at that forex and CFD offering though it seems the quality of the offering isn’t quite up to par with what you’d expect from a world-class Swiss bank. For one thing, cryptocurrencies have been locked away in the eTrading account, as have most other assets. The breadth of offerings from the London-based subsidiary is thin when compared with the millions of assets available at Swissquote Bank. We don’t understand why all the offerings aren’t combined into one account.

Another strange thing regarding the different accounts is the vastly different pricing and terms based on where a client account is opened. And the Advanced Trader platform is ok for beginning traders, but really pales when you put it side-by-side with MetaTrader4.

There are still many positives, such as the extensive market coverage of Swissquote Bank and the ease of opening an account. Customer service is top-notch, and there is a good range of educational materials and webinars.

On the downside are the trading fees, which are high for stocks, ETFs and funds in particular. We think the broker also suffers from the restrictions placed on it by Swiss law, which limits who can trade with Swissquote. Those who can open a Swissquote account should be pleased with the service they receive.

Overall, Swissquote is a solid service provider. As there are demos available for all the products offered, feel free to try them and see for yourself.

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