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Traders seeking a large selection of instruments and asset classes across global financial markets will not be disappointed with the range of premium services Saxo Bank offers, combined with wealth management services that cater to investors’ needs.

By Steven Hatzakis / April 4th, 2017 / Updated: June 15th, 2017

help 94
Trust Score
Dislikes
  • High minimum deposit may deter beginners or those on a tight trading budget.
  • Lack of automated trading solutions for self-directed traders.
  • Spreads much higher in the all-in pricing model than in the commission-based offering.

Review Sections:

Data:

Established in 1992, the Saxo brand today is one of the leading retail forex and multi-asset brokerages, with multiple regulated entities including Saxo Markets, regulated in the UK, and Saxo Bank, which is licensed and regulated as a Danish bank with its headquarters in Copenhagen. Saxo operates a number of other entities that are regulated across the world in major and emerging regulatory hubs.

Saxo Bank covers nearly every electronically traded asset class, providing spot FX, FX options, non-deliverable forwards (NDFs), Contracts for Difference (CFDs), stocks, stock options, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs), futures, contract options, and bonds.

Saxo Bank caters to both retail and institutional clients, and provides wealth management and banking services through its related offerings. According to Saxo Bank Group’s 2016 year-end figures, the company had $1.88 billion in assets under management (AUM), and $13.07 billion in clients’ collateral deposits, making it one of the top retail forex and multi-asset brokers globally.

Commissions & Fees

Saxo Bank’s most aggressive pricing plan brings commission rates down to $20 per million or $2 per standard lot (100,000 units of currency) traded, and shines the most for active traders, compared to the pricing offered on its commission-free model where spreads are higher.

On the commission-based pricing, two lower tiers are available, depending on the volumes clients trade at Saxo Bank, as explained below, in addition to the commission-free plan.

In terms of commission and fees, looking at the last 30 days’ (September 2016) data, around the time of our review, the spread on the EUR/USD and GBP/USD were most competitive and as low as 0.2 pips each at Saxo Bank.

Saxo BankIGCMC MarketsXTBCity Index
All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active0.6000.3630.773N/A0.690
All-in Cost GBP/USD - Active0.9001.0921.090N/A1.220
Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard1.0000.7000.7730.9000.690
Average Spread GBP/USD - Standard1.3001.2801.090N/A1.220
Commissions & Fees 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars
Overall 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars

Saxo also offers an all-in pricing plan where there is no commission – yet this plan includes a higher spread, with the EUR/USD spread reaching as much as 2.0 pips, and is not nearly as competitive as its commission-based pricing or compared to competitors with similar offerings.

Finally, Saxo recently introduced an additional execution model, which, together with the commission and fee structure, should help to complement its offering, as traders can further specify execution qualities when submitting specific orders. This order-driven execution model launched in the middle of November 2016.

Overall, Saxo ranks near the top in terms of its commission and fees and across its available pricing options for active traders, although they are not as high for less active traders or those on the commission-free pricing model.

Customer Service

The day after I opened a demo account I received calls and emails from two Saxo Bank representatives offering their assistance, and eventually spoke to one of them who was very courteous and knowledgeable about the company’s services.

I had a chance to speak to a Saxo representative on subsequent occasions, and each time they were courteous and professional, helping to make an overall positive experience with their customer service.

Accessing live chat was not as easy for demo account holders, as this feature is only available to live account holders with more than $100,000, and lets the user chat directly with a dealer from within the platform. This premium feature can be critical for traders when immediate support is needed and the trading desk can be reached very quickly from within the platform.

For clients with more than $100,000, Saxo Bank offers additional premium services, including news and a 24-hour dedicated support team. For clients with at least $500,000, Saxo Bank offers a platinum service that includes individual pricing, tighter spreads on FX Options, and preferred customer service.

Research

Saxo offers multiple channels for research, including its in-house team of analysts who publish daily opinions and conduct webinars on Saxo Bank’s research and educational portal – TradingFloor.com, as well as within the available trading platforms.

Saxo Bank does a great job centralizing its research within the SaxoTraderGo web platform.

Within the SaxoTraderGO web-based platform, the News & Research tab on the top row of the platform window provides traders with a glimpse across global markets, from the Equities sub-category, as well as News, Opinions, and a Calendar tab. Saxo Bank does a great job centralizing its research within the SaxoTraderGo web platform.

SaxoTraderGO web research detail

Saxo publishes a quarterly Essential Trades report as well, and provides Equity research reports from Factset from within the trading platform, and the platform features economic news streamed from NewsEdge.

The desktop version of the SaxoTrader platform has even more research tools, including screeners, detailed options chains, factset reports, and other features beyond what the web version offers.

SaxoTrader desktop windows 10 research

Platforms & Tools

Saxo Bank’s main trading platform under the ‘SaxoTrader’ suite runs on desktop, web, and mobile. The web and mobile versions are referred to as SaxoTrader GO, and bring a consistent look and feel compared to the SaxoTrader desktop-version.

SaxoTrader GO runs very smoothly on the web, aided by its HTML 5 design, and the way the layout was designed keeps the number of tabs and sections to a minimum, with only Trading, News & Research, and Account, as the three main categories on the top row of the platform interface. 

SaxoTraderGO web

The windows within the platform can be resized but remain fixed otherwise. This can help keep things organized compared to other platforms that let windows float, which can overlap other panels. Ideally, it would be nice to have both options, where a user can choose to dock the panel or let it float freely (an option normally found in desktop versions).

Saxo Bank has done very well keeping the look and feel consistent across platforms, even bringing functionality such as syncing charts and watch lists with mobile devices, among other similar design qualities, where great attention to detail is given.

The default layout on SaxoTrader GO has three main windows: one for Watchlists and Alerts, one for Overview and Charts, and one for Positions and Orders. On the bottom row of the screen is a high-level overview of account balance information, such as account value, available cash and margin, and the percentage of margin currently used.

Saxo Bank has done very well keeping the look and feel consistent across platforms, even bringing functionality such as syncing charts and watch lists with mobile devices, among other similar design qualities, where great attention to detail is given.

The desktop version of the platform, SaxoTrader, ran smoothly on Windows 10, and shares a similar layout – yet packs more under the hood than its web-based counterpart, as do most desktop trading platforms compared to their web-based versions.

SaxoTrader desktop Windows

The stock screener and equity research tools are notable differences in the desktop version, as well as additional reporting capabilities within the Accounts section, and further views and methods for order-entry under the Trading tabs.

Similar to the web version of the platform is the ability to chat with a live dealer directly from within the platform, under the Chat & Squawk section, without the need for additional windows to open or to be redirected to a web page (this feature is only available for live customers with more than £100,000).

The ability to resize, pin, and rearrange windows wasn’t as intuitive as resizing windows in the web-based version, yet the desktop version gives more options for customizations to be made.

The charting, however, was not as fluid, requiring several steps to be taken before the instrument data would populate the chart history, although once that step is overcome, the number of drawing tools, indicators, and customizations available is on a par with Saxo Bank’s peers, including IG, CMC Markets, FXCM, OANDA, and FOREX.com.

SaxoTrader desktop chart Windows

I discovered that open positions are visible on the chart as a small arrow and can be closed directly from the chart, just as trading from the charts is permitted, although both of these items were not as apparent to me (as this arrow was very subtle – as can be seen in the above image) compared to other platforms’ charting modules.

Overall, Saxo Bank ranks highly in this category. The desktop-based SaxoTrader platform impresses in the most important key trading areas, including charting, news, and research, despite lacking any automated trading capabilities (besides the social copy-trade feature available on Trading Floor).

Mobile Trading

The SaxoTrader GO mobile app was very consistent in its look and feel compared to the web-based version of the platform. We tested the app on Android, and it is also available for iOS devices.

One drawback users encounter when they login is the default Account Summary screen, which is mostly empty in the middle of the screen, and the trade, orders, and positions tabs are at the bottom.

This precious space available on the first screen users encounter upon login – which defaults to the Account Summary page – could be utilized better (by adding other fields to the empty section or defaulting to another category). Meanwhile, the best parts of the app are on the next screen once users choose where to navigate to from among the three options on the home screen or from the menu.

The charting capabilities of the SaxoTrader GO mobile app were rich with drawing tools, indicators, and customizations, and were nearly identical with the web-based version of the platform.

The charting capabilities of the SaxoTrader GO mobile app were rich with drawing tools, indicators, and customizations, and were nearly identical with the web-based version of the platform.

SaxoTraderGo mobile chart

The charts even sync with the web-based version, in addition to the watch list automatically syncing between the web and mobile versions. This means that if you draw trend lines and add indicators on SaxoTraderGO web, they will also appear from within the mobile app.

SaxoBank has done very well in packing lots of features into its mobile app, and navigating the layout was very easy from the main screens and from the menu on the upper right corner of the app, in addition to order entry and trading operations.

SaxoTraderGo homepage mobile

Overall, the SaxoTraderGo mobile app is excellent and the broker finished second for mobile trading.

Other Notes

By default, the way Saxo handles premiums or rollover rates (also known as swap rates), is different to the way in which most firms do it, by adjusting the original entry rate of the trade to reflect either a positive or a negative premium. That said, the firm also offers the traditional method where credit or debits are applied for trades held past intraday and clients can choose the rollover option that best suits their needs.

Under the default setting, rather than having a credit or debit added to the balance directly as a line item, these amounts are adjusted from the original entry price of the trade each time a trade is rolled forward (this structure can also help facilitate the needs of Islamic customers where Sharia law applies with regards to earning interest).

Another difference at Saxo Bank is the manner in which margin is calculated, which follows a tiered approach that depends on the net exposure in each pair, with different margin calculations applied to different portions of a single trade or based on the net exposure across all trades in each pair/instrument.

For example, a customer may open a long position for one million units of EUR/USD and then open another nine long positions for one million units each – which overall totals 10 million in aggregate exposure in the EUR/USD pair, causing various margin tiers to apply to different portions of the overall position for 10 million.

SaxoBank FX Margin Tiers

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.

For investors seeking wealth-management solutions, the SaxoSelect range of products includes a MacroFX Strategy for Forex, and a Balanced Portfolio series that is structured using ETFs and based on clients’ objectives with a conservative, moderate, and aggressive portfolio available for as little as $10,000.

Additional investment products for investors include the Equity series, which combines 30 quality stocks selected by Morningstar, and is available as the Saxo Morningstar MOAT ® which requires a minimum of at least €30,000. For a minimum of $20,000, Saxo Bank offers a Trading Strategy series, which has higher potential risk/reward – and includes systematic and discretionary trading systems to manage investors’ funds.

Finally, Saxo Bank offers a social trading feature via its TradingFloor offering, whereby clients can copy the live trades of other users (i.e., copy trading) and have those trades reflected in their own trading account automatically.

Final Thoughts

Saxo Bank does a great job unifying its desktop, web, and mobile platforms. Furthermore, the user experience on SaxoTraderGo both on web and mobile is highly impressive.

With an appeal to the wealth management needs of investors, Saxo caters to more than just retail traders and speculators, and is therefore an ideal choice for those who have accumulated assets and who need assistance using Saxo Bank’s advisory services.

On the other hand, new market entrants or those who can’t afford to deposit $10,000 to start a live account at Saxo Bank, must find alternative options at other industry peers such as IG, Plus500, and CMC Markets, which are the closest options for traders to access a diverse range of products at a lower minimum deposit.

Methodology

For our 2017 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 20 international forex brokers. Each FX broker was graded on 255 variables. Learn more.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to foreign exchange trading, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or currency pair. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses. Learn more.

View all Saxo Bank Fees & Features
Steven Hatzakis

Reviewed by Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Over the past 18 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.


Ratings Overall

Summary

Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Research
Customer Service
Mobile Trading
Education

Best in Class

2017
 2

Overall
  • Overall
  • Commissions & Fees
  • Offering of Investments
  • Platforms & Tools
  • Research
  • Mobile Trading
  • Investor Education
  • Active Trading

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Trading CFDs and FX involves a high degree of risk. All data was obtained from a published web site as of 4/05/2017 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The ForexBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

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