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[Updated for 2021] 4 best investment platforms for global investors


By Sam Instone - May 22, 2017

Living abroad, no doubt you're wanting to make the most of your wealth.

You want your money to work for you, instead of the other way around.

But with so many ways to invest, and so many platforms available, where do you start?

As an international professional, you'll be well versed in the advantages of investment platforms. 

One account where you can hold your shares, funds and even your tax wrappers such as a pension or offshore bond under a single roof.

Allowing you to choose and hold different types of investments in one place.

Less paperwork.

One password.

Less hassle.

What are the different platforms available?

Although UK and US platforms are now decently priced, this hasn’t necessarily translated internationally. 

Some are still mired in the opaque, murky charging structures of the past and flout local regulatory laws from far flung offshore jurisdictions.

One size doesn’t fit all and choosing which international investment platform is right for you can make a pivotal difference in the outcome you receive. 

Some offshore investment platforms discriminate against international professionals living in certain countries, some are suitable for DIY investors whilst others suit advised clients. 

Others, are for wealthier, experienced or institutional clients, and some are best for the mainstream international investor.

Which is the best platform for you?

Choosing the best offshore investment platform isn’t just down to which is the cheapest or the most expensive, but the one that will best enable you to reach your personal goals. 

You need to ensure your account is located in a stable and well-regulated jurisdiction and that you won’t be subject to unnecessary taxes.

Our independent reviews of international investment platforms are driven both by quantitative and qualitative information that is in the public domain. 

They list the company information, the advantages and disadvantages and our overall verdict with an aim of enabling you to make the decision which is best for you.

So which platforms are the best?

The 4 best platforms (in our opinion)
Hulk and Spidey

1. Swissquote Bank Europe (formerly Internaxx) (4.5 out of 5)

Swissquote Bank Europe (formerly Internaxx) is a subsidiary of Swissquote Group, Switzerland’s leading provider of online financial and trading services.

Based in the heart of the EU, an 'AAA' rated financial centre renowned for investor protection, Swissquote Bank Europe has full bank status and is regulated by the CSSF under the oversight of the European Central Bank.

Swissquote offers you global access to financial opportunities including US and international exchanges through self-directed investing or managed accounts in 22 currencies, and all the tools you need to make informed decisions and trade with confidence.

Our verdict?

It's an excellent platform for those individuals who are comfortable making their own investment decisions, can resist the natural temptation to make investment mistakes, and do not need sophisticated facilities for wealth structuring.

Read the full review here.

2. Swissquote (4.5 out of 5)

Swissquote Group Holding Ltd (SQN) is a provider of online financial and trading services. They have been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange since May 2000. 

With 390,000 clients worldwide, CHF 33.5 billion of client assets and a core capital ratio of 20.8%, their financial stability can be reflected in their results every year.

Swissquote has its headquarters in Gland, and offices in Zurich, Bern, Dubai, Malta, Singapore, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and London.

Our verdict?

As Swissquote is regulated in major jurisdictions, and publicly traded, it gets a high trust score. As well as forex, you can access CFDs, exchange-traded securities and wealth advisory services.

There are multiple trading platforms available, but it’s worth noting that there are higher spreads in the Swiss entity compared to the UK offering.

Customer service is excellent. However, technical analysis tools and speculative reports based on opinion are designed to increase trading and therefore trading costs.

Overall, Swissquote offers a very good investment platform for those investors who are comfortable making their own investment decisions, can resist the common natural biases that lead to investment mistakes, and who do not need sophisticated facilities for wealth structuring and management.

Read the full review here.

3. Saxo Bank (4 out of 5)

Established in 1992 as a brokerage firm, by Lars Seier Christensen, Kim Fournais and Marc Hauschildt, Saxo Bank was one of the first financial institutions to develop an online trading platform. 

Saxo Bank launched one of the first online trading platforms, making professional-grade tools and multi-asset market access available to everyone in 1998. It provided ordinary investors with the same tools and market access as professional investors.

It adheres to strict regulatory requirements in in 15 jurisdictions, including Denmark, the UK and Singapore.

Our verdict?

If you were to invest in low cost ETFs as part of a passive strategy for the long term, you would benefit from fewer trading charges.

The key attraction of Saxo Bank is the low custody charge and monthly premiums compared to other options.

Although you would have to make a nominal trade every six months to avoid the inactivity fees, this platform provides a very cost-effective investment solution overall.

This platform is not available to US citizens or a handful of Canadian citizens depending on their area of residence.

Overall, Saxo Bank provides an excellent investment platform for those investors who are comfortable making their own investment decisions, can resist the natural temptation to make investment mistakes, and who do not need sophisticated facilities for wealth structuring.

Read the full review here.

4. Praemium International (4 out of 5)

Established in Australia in 2001, Praemium is used by financial advisers and investment managers to manage or administer across the globe (almost 1,000 financial institutions and over 500,000 investors).

Praemium provides investment platforms, portfolio administration and CRM solutions.

The company has offices in Australia, the UK, Jersey, Dubai, Armenia, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Praemium launched its services into the UK market in 2008, where it is now one of the fastest growing discretionary platforms available.

In the UK, the Praemium group is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Our verdict?

This is a popular platform for intermediaries and will likely become increasingly used by traditional IFAs who seek to disintermediate from the offshore insurance companies and offer their clients a better option.

Read the full review here.

Every day new products come out, and every year new providers come to the international market.

And just like technology that's fast changing, changes in financial services can create potential for great improvements.

It's why we'll keep adding to our review section, so you can keep abreast of changes that could affect your financial decisions.

If you have any questions around these platforms and want a second opinion on your portfolio of £250,000 or more, get in touch.

There's no better time to get your financial house in order than today.

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