Swissquote

An independent review by our team of experts.

Review summary

Swissquote

In 1990, Marc Bürki and Paolo Buzzi set-up Marvel Communications, a business specialising in financial software and web applications. Marvel Communications was the forerunner of Swissquote, the first financial platform, launched in 1996, which offered free access to prices for all securities traded on the Swiss stock exchange.

Today, Swissquote Group is Switzerland's leading provider of online financial and trading services - swissquote.ch is visited 2 million times per month, and is Switzerland’s largest financial portal. 

Listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange, the Swissquote Group has its headquarters in Gland, and offices in Zürich, Bern, Dubai, Malta, Hong Kong and London.

The Group currently employs 550 staff.

Overview

Swissquote’s expat offering is not so much a traditional offshore banking solution, but more an online investment platform.

Swissquote provides online financial services, innovative solutions and analysis tools to meet a wide range of demands and needs of its clients.

As well as various online trading services, the user-friendly platform also provides solutions for eForex, ePrivate Banking, eMortgage and flexible saving accounts.

In addition to a low-cost service for private clients, Swissquote also offers specialised services for independent asset managers and corporate clients.

The company operates in the UAE through its subsidiary Swissquote MEA Ltd, however clients' investments are held in Switzerland, not the UAE.

To this end, clients' investments are custodied under the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). 

Swissquote Ltd, based in London, provides services for expats in the EU, and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The basic expat account charges no account fee, but instead charges a custody fee and transaction fees for investments on the platform.

For example, ETFs are charged at 0.25% with $35 minimum (currency equivalent).

Funds invested cost 0.5% with a $50 minimum (currency equivalent).

Custody fees for retail clients are a quarterly 0.375% with $15 minimum, but these are not charged on cash holdings.

Electronic deliveries out of securities cost $50 equivalent.  35% Swiss withholding tax may apply to interest on savings.

As an investment platform, Swissquote (and particularly the ePrivate Banking solution) has some interesting features.  The international banking functions (including international payments costing $10 currency equivalent) have been a little neglected.  Visa debit cards are not provided.

The pros

  • Low-cost
  • Excellent technology
  • Size
  • Wide range of investment options

The cons

  • More of a trading platform than a bank
  • Don’t provide advice
FAQs
Can I get a Lombard loan with Swissquote?

A Lombard loan enables you to expand your securities portfolio or rapidly take advantage of new opportunities on the market without having to inject new liquidity or sell assets in your portfolio.

You may be able to obtain liquidity against the pledge of your various assets.

Features & benefits:

Lombard loans in CHF/EUR/USD

Interest debited solely on the amount used

No fees or additional administrative costs

Attractive interest rates and conditions

Loan application and signing of the agreement done entirely online

Obtain your loan in one hour when applying online

Risks:

Insofar as the credit limit granted is established by Swissquote based on the collateral value of your assets, certain events may cause Swissquote to reduce this limit at any time.

This is possible, in particular, if there is a depreciation in value or lack of liquidity of one or more securities pledged as collateral.

The consequences could be the forced sale of securities, the requirement to bring forth additional securities or the reimbursement of the credit.

In extreme cases, there is a risk of total loss of assets.

Price and currency risks are borne exclusively by the client.

Furthermore, obtaining a Lombard loan for private asset management may be considered by the Federal Tax Administration as an indicator of taxable gainful self-employment.

The client is solely responsible for any tax consequences resulting from the reclassification of his/her trading activities as gainful self-employment.

Does Swissquote offer expats mortgages?

If you want to buy property in Switzerland and meet all eligibilityrequirements, yes.

You must be a client with Swissquote.

Your life partner may become a joint debtor with a view to financing the mortgage as an additional borrower.

You must live in Switzerland and may not be a US person.

Your current income from employment, self-employment and pensions must ensure the long-term affordability of the property

 If self-employed, you must prove that your taxable income has been at least CHF 100,000 for the past three years

 Affordability must not exceed 35% for a main residence and 20% for a second residence or holiday home

The property must be located in Switzerland.

 The property must be an existing single-family home or an existing owner-occupied flat. Properties undergoing construction may not be financed.

 The property must belong to you; it is not possible to finance building lots.

 Usufructs, pre-emptive rights and rights of abode may not be entered in the land register on behalf of third parties

When buying a property, you must be able to provide your own resources in full before any loan is granted (it is not possible to make advance withdrawals from pension plans).

 It is possible to pay for a property by making advance withdrawals from pension plans only if the amount loaned (mortgage + advance withdrawal from pension plans/property value) does not exceed 65%.

 The maximum amount loaned is 80% for a main residence and 60% for a second residence or holiday home. The minimum repayment for a main residence is determined such that the amount loaned is reduced to a maximum of 65% within 15 years.

 Interest must be paid quarterly.

 Loan repayments are determined by the bank and must be made semiannually in equal instalments. You may not make indirect repayments via pension assets (Pillar 3).

 A linked account will be opened with Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank for the purposes of debiting interest and repayments and handling the mortgage. It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that funds are provided on time.

 The first payout (if the contractual details specify a staggered mortgage payout) takes place between today and one year thereafter. The last payout (complete mortgage payout) takes place between the date of the first payout and five years thereafter.

Customer reviews
Trading platform NOT bank account

Swissquote isn't a traditional bank account - it shouldn't even be listed as such IMO...

Great trading platform though - AND I've used Lombards - very fast turn around.

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Swissquote

Although this is advertised as a ‘Swiss’ expat bank account, it isn’t.  It is a full online trading platform, which to inexperienced investors can be like being handed a loaded gun.

Switzerland has lost much of its appeal as a banking jurisdiction, and this account doesn’t have the breadth of facility, advice or service associated with traditional Swiss banks. 

However, for experienced investors, it provides an excellent international trading platform with some services akin to an online bank account.

“Thank you AES International for helping me and my family with your low cost no-nonsense approach. It is refreshing!”

Kristian Petersson

“With this sort of service you also expect to be paying very high fees, but it’s just not the case. I would definitely recommend AES.”

Jake van den Dries

“In the short time that I’ve been using AES I’ve made nearly ten thousand pounds and couldn’t be happier!”

Jackie Pym

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