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Investors’ looking for an array of instruments and asset types to trade across international financial markets will be mighty pleased with the wide selection of premium services that Saxo Bank provides, including active trading rates, wealth management services that cater to the trader’s needs. We rank Saxo Bank as our number #1 dealer for the year 2018.
- Efficient SaxoTraderGo platform for trading
- Wide-selection of research and news content
- Low forex spreads and commissions
- Regulated in several major financial regions and as a bank in Denmark
- Saxo Bank Minimum deposit is high
- No automated trading solutions for self-directed traders
- Lack of adequate offering of charting indicators and drawing tools
- New pricing plan yet to be fully rolled-out across the globe
The Saxo Brand was founded in 1992 and is one of the foremost retail forex and multi-instruments brokers in the market. Its regulated firms include Saxo Markets in UK and Saxo Bank which is regulated as a Danish Bank based in Copenhagen. It also operates via various subsidiaries, regulated by prestigious regulatory firms across major financial markets.
Saxo deals in various assets covering almost all electronic trade instruments such as FX options, CFDs, Spot forex, ETFs, ETNs, stock options, stocks, cryptocurrencies, contract options, bonds, and futures.
The broker caters to both individual and institutional traders and offers wealth management and banking services via its related facilities. The broker according to their 2016 end of the year figures, had 1.88 billion dollars in AUM (assets under management) and 13.07 billion dollars in clients’ collateral deposits; this puts Saxo Bank among the leading FX and multi-assets broker on a global scale.
Furthermore, Saxo Bank is a member of the FX Global Code, whose mission is focused around improving disclosure and execution statistics to foster integrity, trust, and transparency across the FX market globally.
Saxo Bank Commissions & Fees
Also an element of the new pricing module, the dealer aims to meet the needs of active traders by implementing higher tiers and minimizing minimum monthly account maintenance commissions, which in turn will benefit investors’ who might or else not qualify for the full discount offered by higher account activation if their volumes do not meet the Saxo bank’s minimum margin requirement.
When it comes to spreads, the typical spread on Euro/Dollar pair was 0.4 pips. Coupled with its new volume-based rates, that is inclusive of default fee parallel to 0.5 pips, the all-in trade cost that the broker provides is of 0.9 pips on an average. In other words, Saxo Bank offers its clients competitive pricing especially in the wake of the ongoing rollout of the new model.
Saxo Bank Market Analysis
Saxo platforms offer a comprehensive spread of research offerings across its websites and trading platforms, varying from in-house experts who publish daily articles, and hold webinars on the broker’s educational platform – TradingFloor.com to content from several third-party sources.
Saxo Bank does brilliantly when it comes to centralizing all its research offerings within the web platform – SaxoTraderGo. Thebroker further strengthened its stand up research abilities by integrating Auto Chartist directly with the SaxoTraderGo platform.
The broker publishes quarterly reports called Essential Trades and also offers Equity research reports from Factset; all functional and integrated within one trading platform for maximum user experience. It also supports live news feed from NewsEdge.
The desktop version of the SaxoTraderGo platform has even more research tools, including screeners, detailed options chains, FactSet reports, and other features beyond what the web version offers.
When it comes to web and desktop platform’s research offerings, the latter takes the cake by providing advanced research tools such as FactSet reports detailed options chains, screeners and many more features that the web version does not offer.
Platforms & Tools
Saxo bank’s chief offering under the ‘SaxoTrader’ collection runs on the web, mobile, and desktop. SaxoTraderGO is the name for its mobile & web version; they maintain a consistent interface compared to the desktop variant.
The web-based SaxoTraderGo runs seamlessly in any browser due to its HTML design and the layout is developed to keep the numbers of tabs and sections from cluttering the screen, with only Trading, R&D, and Saxo Bank Trading Account as the primary categories visible on the top row of the web-based platform.
At a default setting, the trading section of SaxoTraderGo has 3 main tabs: one for watch lists and alerts, a separate one for account overview with charts and the last one which displays positions and orders. The overview of account balance information such as margin details, available funds, and account value is displayed in the bottom row of the interface.
The platforms allow for the windows to be resized however they remained fixed in their positions at large. This is beneficial to maintain order compared to platforms with floating windows, which often overlap with other panels. The charting module being an exception and can be viewed separately as a floating window or at a full screen.
In terms of charts, the offerings by SaxoTraderGO are robust, with the platform offering around50 indicators and drawing tools. However, this number falls short when compared with other multi-asset brokers such as Interactive Brokers and CMC Markets. Another shortcoming is that the planning can be difficult at times, but in all fairness, this can also be attributed to computer graphics and internet speed.
Saxo bank fares well when it comes to keeping the interface consistent across different versions of the platforms. It even supports auto-syncing of charts and watch-lists on the mobile app. This is amongst other smaller design details that deserve a mention.
The desktop version ran seamlessly on a Windows 10 machine and has a similar layout as the web variant. In addition to the consistent layout, the platform comes packed with many more features compared to its web counterpart.
The added features in the desktop version that are notable are the equity research tools and the stock screener, as well as the additional reporting functions within the accounts tab and furthermore methods and display functionalities for order-entry under the trading section.
The platform supports a real-time chat (Chat & Squawk) with the dealer within the platform, without redirecting to a different window. This featured is available to live clients with more than 100,000 euros in their account
The flexibility, in terms of resizing, pinning and re-arranging of windows goes, is not as intuitive as the web variant of the application, yet the desktop version has a wider scope for customizations.
The charting functionality was superior on the web-version; as the desktop version takes a while to display the instrument data over the chart history. However, once this task is accomplished, the traders have 55 indicators to choose from, which is slightly higher in number than what the web variant provides.
I noticed that the open positions are displayed on the chart as a small arrow and can be shut directly from the chart, as chart trading is permitted, although both these functions are not easily visible, as compared to other platforms’ charting function.
Will the broker does not support auto-trading, the exception being the social copy-trade feature offered on its Trading Floor portal, SaxoTrader covers the essential facets of trading well, such as news, research, order management and news. Between the web and the desktop variant, it’s slightly more hard to master the desktop version.
Overall the tools and the research offerings at Saxo Bank is at par with the industry standard and will cater to most brokers. Which lead it to finish in the second place after Dukascopy.
The mobile version of the app is consistent in layout and interface with its web counterpart. We tested it on an Andriod device; the application is also available for Apple devices.
One drawback the clients notice as soon as they log in is the default account summary displayed on the screen. It is mostly blank in the middle section with the trade, positions and orders tab being displayed at the bottom.
This blank space encountered by clients when they login can be put to better use by adding other fields to the blank section or by displaying some other category as a default screen.
Once the users move past the account summary screen they will notice that the mobile version is equipped with all the essentials such as news, calendar and other research material such as pattern recognition analysis from Auto Chartist, which is at par with its web-based variant.
The charting functionality of the mobile app is on par with its web-based counterpart with a host of quality tools such as indicators, drawing tools and customizations.
SaxoTraderGO experience across devices.
The mobile and the web-based version sync automatically which means if the trader draws trend-lines and adds indicators in the web-version they are synced in the mobile version as well.
Overall the broker does an excellent job of packing robust trading tools and research into its mobile application. We were impressed by the seamless experience of mobile trading with SaxoTraderGo’s mobile app, which led to the broker to come in second for its Mobile Trading Experience.
In the interest of the traders, rather than trigger orders on its own pricing, Saxo Bank offers the underlying inter-bank rates, essentially adding mark ups above general market rates. In other words, the stop-loss orders and limits have an extra insulation in terms of pricing.
Furthermore, to promote the sale of stop orders rather than trigger the order on the bid price, Saxo bank uses the asking price and vice versa. This comes in handy especially during volatile market conditions wherein the spreads go up, where traders would have been in other scenarios taken out of the trade before time.
Saxo bank helps its Islamic clients abide by the Sharia principles by adjusting the debit and credit from the original entry price of the trade rather than having the balance added directly to the line item, each time the trade takes place.
Another distinction at Saxo Bank is how the margin is calculated, which uses a tiered approach that is determined on the basis of the net exposure in each pair. Distinct margins calculations can be applied to different parts of one trade – if it is above a certain volume or is based on the net exposure across all trades in a type of pair or instrument.
To put it shortly, the broker aligns its higher-margin tiers in line with the volatility of the market conditions, whereas the lower tiers are aligned with margin call trends. This may result in a client with smaller positions being able to get a margin call sooner if he/she is using higher leverage. Three additional margin tiers were added to facilitate the needs of more active traders in the year 2017.
Therefore, traders taking larger positions should plan in advance in order to know how the margin calculations Saxo Bank applies would affect their position – depending on the tier levels reached – so they can adjust their margin or positions as needed.
It is therefore advised, traders dealing in larger positions should plan in advance to see how the margin calculations at Saxo Bank affects their position, according to the tier levels reached, so that they can alter their margin and positions as required.
For the investors looking for wealth management services, the SaxoSelect suite includes MacroFX Strategy for Forex. Balanced Portfolio suite which is formulated using ETFs and based on the investors’ objectives with the choice of conservative, moderate and aggressive portfolios starting from as little as 10,000 dollars.
Saxo Bank also offers Equity series, which is an additional investment product which puts together thirty quality stocks picked by Morningstar, and is available at Saxo Bank as Saxo Morningstar MOAT, at a minimum of 30,000 euros. Saxo Bank also offers a Trading Strategy suite which has high potential risk/reward ratio. The strategy combines the use of systematic and discretionary trading systems to manage clients funds at a minimum of 20,000 dollars.
Lastly, the dealer offers social –copy trading functionality via its TradingFloor portal, wherein the traders can copy live trades from other experienced traders and have those trades reflected in their own trading account by default.
The Bottom Line
Saxo Bank does a stand-up job providing a uniform experience across its desktop, web and mobile versions of the platform. Not only is the trading experience seamless, the broker provides a host of quality tools and research material throughout.
With wealth management needs of the investors takencare of, the broker caters to a clientele with accumulated assets and requires investment advisory services in addition to retail traders and speculators. For the customers who can’t afford the minimum deposit of $10,000 to open a Saxo account, other brokers such as Plus500 and CMC Markets are the closest competitors to Saxo Bank who offer a diverse range of products at a lower opening deposit.
That being said, for the traders who can afford Saxo Bank’s minimum deposit of $10,000, the broker is our undisputed winner for the 2018 review.