As many of you know, I am working toward making this a blog that is reader-directed. I welcome questions (via the “Contact Advisor” button above) and make an effort to answer them on this blog. If you have a question, chances are that someone else has that question as well. This go-round is a question about a new online discount brokerage:
Recently I started an account with a newer discount broker, SogoInvest. I haven’t seen much about them, and I was wondering your professional take.
After tooling around on the SogoInvest Web site, I have come to the conclusion that it can, indeed, be a very valuable addition to an investment strategy. The biggest advantage held by SogoInvest is its rock-bottom commisions. $3 per trade. And that includes real time trades. If you open a subscription account (see prices, etc. here), you can get even lower trade rates — even for real time trades. Compare that to brokerages that can charge as much as $14.95 if you want to make a real time trades. No minimum investment amount makes it easy for anyone to get started, and you have a straight cash or a cash with margin option. (The margin option comes with more risk.) Additionally, the automated investing options and dollar-cost averaging (buy partial shares instead of whole shares) make SogoInvest a good option for beginning investors, and for investors that don’t want to check stock price action everyday. Beginning investors can build a portfolio rather cheaply.
If you are familiar with Sharebuilder, you can get an idea of what SogoInvest is like (only cheaper). It is obvious that SogoInvest has online discount brokers like Sharebuilder in its sights.
Possible drawbacks to SogoInvest
The main drawbacks are that there are no mutual fund or retirement account offerings. Options traders will also be disappointed. However, retirement accounts and college savings accounts do appear to be in the works. But, for now, ETFs and individual stocks are your only options with SogoInvest. Additionally, the tools are simplistic, so advanced traders may find themselves wishing for more. But the simplicity and the ease of use are what makes the commissions the lowest in the business. More advanced traders can take an opposite investment strategy to the beginning trader: use SogoInvest for short term trading (to save on the commissions) and keep the advanced options offered by online brokers like TDAmeritrade and Scottrade for long term holdings. There’s no law that says you can’t use more than one online broker.
As always, with investing, there are risks. And, with most online discount brokers, it is important that you do good research to determine what brokerages work best for you, and will help you best reach your financial goals. And you have to do the researching leg work to find the best investment shares to buy as well.