Founded in 1986 in South Carolina, SogoTrade was originally known as Coastal Investment Associates before being changed to Wang Investment Associates, Inc. in 1992. It wasn't until 2010 that the brokerage firm assumed its current name and became incorporated in Delaware. Today, the company is known as a simplified, no frills stock broker that caters to self-directed and independent investors. It offers stocks, ETFs, and options and tries to specialize in these trading areas. Hence, the company doesn't dabble in bonds, mutual funds, and other investment options in order to specialize in what it does provide. The firm also offers low commission rates, a variety of platforms, and educational resources to facilitate the investment process for their clients.
- Trading platforms
- Educational resources
SogoTrade provides competitively priced stocks, ETFs, and options. At $5 per trade, these fees are below the average for most brokerage firms. Options trades are also competitively priced at $5 per trade plus $0.50 per contract, which is fairly similar to the highly rated OptionsHouse. Additionally, investors with the brokerage firm don't have to worry about being charged inactivity or maintenance fees. Other benefits of the platform include:
SogoTrade offers several types of trading platforms to suit the needs of different investors. The most basic one is SogoTrader, which is ideal for investors simply looking to trade stocks. The platform offers a single screen from which the trades can be made and basic tools like streaming quotes, watchlists, and interactive charts. SogoTrader is also free for the brokerage firm's clients. For investors looking for a more advanced platform, the brokerage firm provides SogoOptions, where investors can trade stocks, ETFs, and options. The platform is efficient and easy to navigate, fully equipped with the basic tools found on SogoTrader and hailed for its more advanced tools that facilitate strategized, rapid trades. These tools include calculators to research stocks, reports on data analytics, and options chains.
For more sophisticated traders, SogoTrader offers SogoElite, the trading platform made for more experienced traders. It's equipped with extremely detailed market data directly from exchanges, streaming charts, and a top movers list, to name a few of its features. If this weren't enough, the brokerage firm also offers mobile trading options, primarily for its stocks and ETFs. The mobile trading platform works on most mobile browsers and as far as apps go, the firm offers an app through the Google Play Store, which is highly rated by investors on the go.
SogoTrade's education center and general customer support services also add to the company's perks. Its education center houses several helpful resources like guides on the basics of trading, margin accounts, and how to choose stocks. The firm's site also offers a glossary to explain key trading and market terms to further simplify the process for novice investors. Furthermore, the firm's customer service is pretty fair. The company offers live chat services in addition to email and telephone assistance. We found their live chat service to be incredibly helpful, as representatives seemed attentive and knowledgeable.
- Share limits
- Investment options
While SogoTrade offers competitive prices and minimal hidden fees, it does have a few additional fees investors should be aware of. For instance, for stocks priced under $1, the online commission is $5, which seems pretty steep. Additionally, for stocks under $1, the brokerage firm expects a $100 minimum investment per opening transaction. Other drawbacks to be aware of include:
Online trades are limited to 100,000 shares. If investors want to place orders over 100,000 shares, they must call SogoTrade's Trade Desk. These phone trades will, however, be subject to a $25 base rate fee plus the surcharge, which adds yet another additional fee investors could be charged.
While SogoTrade's pricing structure is relatively cheap even when the additional fees are considered, the fact that the firm has limited investment choices could be a turn off for most investors. For instance, the firm doesn't offer investing in bonds or mutual funds, which puts the firm at a disadvantage in today's competitive market. When it comes to options, the firm doesn't compare to its competitors like OptionsHouse and optionXpress who offer more feature filled alternatives. In addition to this, the site's platforms have been known to give some incorrect information that investors will then need to verify. For example, investors may see days where their buying power on the platforms will appear incorrectly. The only way to rectify the issue is to call customer service, which is usually slow in resolving the matter.
In addition to these cons, SogoTrade hasn't received rave reviews in the media. In fact, it was ranked close to the bottom of Baron magazine's 2015 annual broker survey and in the magazine's previous years' surveys. The brokerage firm received poor ratings in a variety of the survey's fields including Mobile, Trading Experience, and Technology, Portfolio Analysis, and Reports, Ranges of Offerings, Customer Service, and Education categories, to name a few. Additionally, the firm doesn't offer an app for iPhones, iPads, and other apple devices, which ostracizes a number of investors who strictly use apple products. At the end of the day, it's no wonder the company is called a no frills brokerage firm. It expects its clients to have done all of the research on which stocks to buy before using the firm to place trades.
The Bottom Line
SogoTrade is ideal for extremely active day traders who know exactly what they're doing during the investment process. These investors will find several trading platforms, with SogoTrade, which cater to their specific, advanced needs. Educational resources and customer service, while ample, are poorly rated. So, self-directed investors will find the firm ideal since they expect little assistance when placing trades. While SogoTrade offers almost all of U.S. stocks, potential clients should expect to only trade in stocks, ETFs, and options as the brokerage firm offers very limited investment choices.
For investors who haven't experienced trading or who want to have access to a variety of investment choices, SogoTrade might not be the brokerage firm for them. The firm offers little assistance and expects its investors to have done all of their homework before trading on the firm's platforms. SogoTrade's poor trading platforms and poor customer service could also hinder novice and intermediate investors from trading with the firm. Thus, the company has somewhat of a strict customer base of experienced traders and anyone who doesn't identify as being a professional investor should probably look elsewhere.