Best trading platform for Europeans in 2017

Best trading platform for Europeans in 2017
| Natalija Jovanovic Natalija Jovanovic

We tested 10 online brokers for European customers and evaluated their trading platforms based on criteria including charting tools, customisability, research, etc. Our top five picks for the best trading platform for Europeans in 2017 are:

  • Saxo Bank, the Danish investment bank
  • Swissquote, the Swiss brokerage firm
  • eToro, the Israeli social trading broker
  • DEGIRO, the Dutch discount broker
  • Comdirect, German Commerzbank’s online trading platform
  Saxo Bank Swissquote Comdirect DEGIRO eToro
Interactive charting tools ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★★
Search function ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Customisability ★★ ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★
Research ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★
Variety of order types ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★
Two-step authentication
Overall 3.8 3.8 3.5 3.3 2.8

 

What makes the best trading platform?

A trading platform can easily make or break anyone’s success in online trading. It greatly influences both your comfort and your performance as a trader, hence it is crucial to choose the broker with the platform that suits you the most. 

In this article, we have focused on web platforms as these are the most common online trading venues. We tested each of them on six criteria to give you the full picture, and so that you can easily find the one that best aligns with your trading style and preferences. These points are:

1. Interactive charting: To follow the price of an asset and build a strategy on technical indicators. Includes the availability of save and download options as well as working on multiple charts simultaneously.
2. Search function:  How easy it is to find the asset you want to trade and to navigate through different asset classes.
3. Customisability: The trading comfort is significantly better if you can customise the platform to your needs.
4. Research: Some platforms offer more extensive and better quality research for free than others.
5. Variety of order types:  The more order types you have, the more sophisticated order and execution strategies you can implement.
6. Secure login: We prefer two-step authentication for added security

 

 

Besides the trading platform, other important considerations when choosing a broker are the cost of trading and the amounts covered by the broker’s investment protection scheme. You can find a comparison table for these at the end.

Seeking the best trading platform - SAXO BANK

BACKGROUND:

Danish investment bank specialising in online trading and investment.

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Both beginners and experienced traders who want a well-designed platform with excellent research materials.

PRODUCT PORTFOLIO:

All asset classes – equities, ETFs, forex, options, futures, bonds and CFDs – except funds.

 

best-trading-platform-saxo-bank-web-platform

 

1. Interactive charting ★★★★★ 

We love charting with Saxo. Their tools are really versatile, you can view up to four charts simultaneously, open related fundamental information and even trade. Note the different views: the “Overview” shows trade signals, while you can use the “Chart” with different indicators.

2. Search function★★★★★

A well designed and handy search, listing different asset classes. For example, if you search for Facebook, the results will show Facebook stocks, CFDs, and options as well.

3. Customisability★★☆☆☆ 

The web trading platform is not very customisable, you’ll have to go for the desktop version if you wish for a more personalised experience.

4. Research★★★★★

One of the best platforms when it comes to research with their dedicated site, tradingfloor.com. They offer equity research, news and opinions from their strategists, a calendar for macro events, and you can search for trade signals. They also have a robo-advisory service, SaxoSelect, offering balanced, equity and trading strategies in portfolios managed by professionals. On the other hand, most of the research is trade focused as opposed to investment (i.e. more technical analysis than portfolio allocation).

5. Variety of order types ★★★★☆ 

A wide range of order types including market, limit, stop and stop limit. For executed orders, a trailing stop is also applicable. The term of the orders is customisable and includes day order, good-till-date and good-till-cancel orders.

6. Secure Login★★☆☆☆ 

Provides a one-step login for regular accounts, and a more secure, IP address linked login for Platinum/VIP accounts. We think that Saxo should provide safer login options for all customers.

Seeking the best trading platform - SWISSQUOTE

BACKGROUND:

Swiss international banking and trading provider.

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Beginners after some initial practice and traders wishing to build a balanced portfolio of investment products.

PRODUCT PORTFOLIO:

Stocks, funds, ETFs, forex, bonds, options and futures.

best-trading-platform-swissquote-web-platform

1. Interactive charting ★★★☆☆  

Basic charts and graphs with option to view up to eight charts simultaneously. Some fundamental markup functions are also available, but you cannot save your charts only print them.

2. Search function★★★★☆ 

Although search provides a comprehensible product classification and offers different ways of trading commodities in one place, you have to pay attention to the market section. The search is Swiss focused with the Swiss exchange and funds set as default. You can navigate to other markets and funds as well.

3. Customisability★★★★★

The web trading platform is nicely customisable. You can add, move and remove windows and shuffle them around as you wish. You can choose from a number of widgets, it is all very intuitive.

4. Research★★★☆☆

The ETF and mutual fund selector is a powerful and practical feature. Swissquote provides some basic equity data and recommendations, and market news in a mix of English, Italian and French languages. Stock recommendations are easy to understand, but the platform lacks fundamental or technical analysis. Their Theme Trading feature offers investment ideas for specific industries, analysed by the risk and timeframe of the investment with portfolio suggestions from top players in that market.

5. Variety of order types ★★★★☆ 

Order types are market and limit orders, with market orders offering fill-or-kill, good-till-date and immediate-or-cancel options. Limit orders can only be placed on a good-till-date basis. 

6. Secure Login★★★★☆ 

Two-step login for added security.

Seeking the best trading platform - COMDIRECT

BACKGROUND:

Germany’s leading online brokerage, also offering online banking and advisory services.

RECOMMENDED FOR:

German speakers looking for a comprehensive trading platform with a user-friendly interface.

PRODUCT PORTFOLIO:

Major stocks, funds, ETFs, bonds, options, futures and CFDs.

 

1. Interactive charting ★★★★★  

Charts have a number of technical analysis add-ons, you can view multiple charts simultaneously and can save the charts you worked on.

2. Search function★★★★☆

You can search for a security directly or you can browse by asset classes.

3. Customisability★★★☆☆

Decently customisable platform, you can resize and rearrange windows, etc.

4. Research★★★☆☆

You can easily find the essentials including market news, basic market data, technical and fundamental analysis tools. For further assistance, you can hire an advisor through a separate contract. If you wish to learn, there are also webinars within the platform.

5. Variety of order types ★★★★★

A broad range of order types, including market, limit, stop-loss, trailing stop-loss, if-done and one-cancels-the-other orders.

6. Secure Login★☆☆☆☆ 

One step login is the only option.

Seeking the best trading platform - DEGIRO

BACKGROUND:

Rapidly growing Dutch discount broker.

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Equity and option traders who focus on Europe and the US, and do not want to spend a fortune on fees.

PRODUCT PORTFOLIO:

Stocks, funds, ETFs, bonds, options, futures and CFDs.

best-trading-platform-degiro-web-platform

1. Interactive charting ★★★☆☆  

The interactive charts are easy to use and come with several technical indicators, but unfortunately they cannot be saved.

2. Search function★★★★★ 

The search yields results in different asset classes. We are very pleased with this as you can find easily what you are looking for.

3. Customisability★★☆☆☆

Customisability is limited to hiding the portfolio and transaction panels, and you cannot change the market information panel.

4. Research★☆☆☆☆

Sadly not provided, but bear in your mind that DEGIRO is a discount broker.

5. Variety of order types ★★★★★

There are six order types: limit, market, stop loss, stop limit, limit hit and join. If you are not familiar with the last two, it is because they are specific to this platform. Limit hit only sends your order out once it is clear at which exchange the required price can be obtained. Join orders will only be executed if there is another DEGIRO client available on the opposite side of the trade, offering 5% commission discount for equities and EUR 0.05 for options. You can place your order online, by email or on the phone for additional fees. Orders are available in 3 terms: day, good-till-date or good-till-cancel.

6. Secure Login★★★★☆ 

You can choose between a one-step or two-step login. We recommend the latter for added security.

Seeking the best trading platform - ETORO

BACKGROUND:

Israeli online social trading platform.

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Anyone who is curious about social trading, even beginners.

PRODUCT PORTFOLIO:

CFDs.

best-trading-platform-etoro-web-platform

1. Interactive charting ★★★★★  

The whole platform is bursting with data visualisation, even your portfolio is presented as a report of your holdings with colourful bar graphs and piecharts. The charting tool also allows for adding a lot of indicators, and charts conveniently auto-save.

2. Search function★★★★★ 

The search navigation and browsing of different markets are done very well and transparently. You can browse by industry, asset type or exchange.

3. Customisability★☆☆☆☆

As much as we liked the layout of the web-trading platform, it does not offer customisable trading windows.

4. Research★★☆☆☆

Not a strong point, but there are some analyst recommendations for popular indices, as well as average price target, and hedge fund sentiment. The news are provided through a market-oriented Twitter account where hashtags are used for themes and $ signs for assets.

5. Variety of order types ★★★☆☆ 

Order types are simple and include only market and limit orders in a very self-explanatory fashion. You can set leverage size, stop loss and/or take profit right at the time when opening a position.

6. Secure Login★☆☆☆  

Only one-step verification is available. Text message or other extra identification would be desirable for higher security, especially when you have a large amount of money in your account.

Other considerations

Trading platform is one thing, but the cost of trading and the amounts covered by the respective broker’s protection scheme are also equally important factors. The amounts covered are determined by the insurance scheme of the national authority where a broker is registered at. You can compare the above mentioned brokers on these two criteria below:

1. FEES FOR A USD 2,000 STOCK TRADE

Saxo Bank Swissquote Comdirect DEGIRO eToro
$15 $25 $15 $1 Included in the spread

 

As the table shows, there are huge differences between trading fees, even if you want to execute a simple US stock purchase. Not surprisingly, the discount broker DEGIRO is the cheapest. To find out more about how the fares compare between the different brokers, check out our ultimate comparison table.

2. INVESTOR PROTECTION

  Saxo Bank Swissquote Comdirect DEGIRO eToro
Supervisory authority Danish FSA FINMA BaFin DNB, AFM UK: FCA
Europe: CySEC
Protection amount Cash dep. up to €100,000 CHF 100,000 €20,000 €20,000 UK: £50,000
Securities up to €20,000 Europe: €20,000

 

These brokers are regulated by European bodies with protection amounts ranging from €20,000 to €100,000.

Bottom-line

We hope you managed to pick your favourite from our top five recommended platforms. If you are still uncertain which is the best trading platform for Europeans in 2017, this little summary might provide further clarity:

  • Beginners can feel comfortable with Saxo Bank, while more advanced traders would appreciate its great tools, charts and wide range of research.
  • If you wish to invest in a rapidly growing niche industry, Swissquote’s theme investing function can help you. With two-step-authentication you can sleep tight even with larger sums in your account.
  • For those wanting to try social trading and copy someone else’s strategy, eToro is a great choice.
  • Price sensitive traders could consider DEGIRO with its highly competitive fees and various portfolio assets.
  • German speakers could choose Comdirect confidently, benefitting from a wide range of securities traded on German exchanges.

 


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