When investing you can’t get around brokers. I’m no different. I have multiple brokers for various reasons and means. Lynx for my main portfolio and BeoBank for an active funds portfolio. I also plan to get a shared account with my wife, i.e., with two titular holders.
Note: I will not cover all the possible brokers since I don’t have experience with them. I only want to give you my experience with those that I have worked with so far. This is also independent of my performance. In case I talk about a bad customer experience with a certain broker, I will support using third-party articles.
LYNX: my preferred online broker
At the moment, I use the Belgian broker named Lynx for my personal stocks portfolio. This might change in the future, depending on how the fees and commissions evolve. I also don’t trade as diversified as I anticipated, so the extensive platform at my disposal remains untouched.
Lynx is present in 9 countries, which covers most of my European readers:
- The Netherlands
- Czech Republic
They have a partnership with Interactive Brokers and thus use the same platform but with their own requirements as well as brokerage fees and costs.
The biggest downside in my experience is the archaic offline trading tool. It’s too cluttered for most people and has a rather steep learning curve depending on what you plan to trade. To counter this, Lynx is constantly developing its online trading platform.
Powerful desktop platform or more simplistic online interface
This basic online platform might not be the most extensive, but they are getting there and for most people that only get a handful of ETFs, it suffices.
Greatest Customer Support On Offer
My main reason for choosing Lynx over DEGIRO is for their advanced trading options (which I don’t use as much as I thought I would) and the help they offer to manage it through their excellent customer support.
This support also helps me with anything else: managing the technicalities of my account, helping with local tax questions, etc.
Besides that, depending on how much I trade with them, it’s possible to get cheaper rates (though this might depend on the local branch as it’s not official 😉 ).
Other key features of Lynx
Besides a great support team, Lynx offers a number of extra smart functionalities that make trading a lot easier.
SMART routing your orders
If you choose Stocks (SMART), your order will be executed on the stock exchange that gives the best price at that moment. The advantage of SMART routing is that you always get the best possible price from all the exchanges on which a particular stock is traded.
Possible disadvantages of SMART routing are that your order is not included in the Euronext auctions and that your order can also be executed outside regular trading hours on an alternative stock exchange even though you might not want that at the time.
While their commission isn’t the lowest in the market, they offer a razor-sharp spread. Meaning that the difference between the price you can buy or sell at, is exactly the same as the price on the market. In other words, Lynx doesn’t have any hidden transaction cost.
Trading outside of business hours
At first glance, this doesn’t look that important, but especially during more volatile times it can be interesting to buy or sell outside of the regular trading hours and you can with Lynx. While placing your order you just select “Outside of trading hours” and your order can also get filled before or after the day’s trading session, and this at no extra charge!
I’d recommend Lynx if you trade a lot each month and especially in different securities at the same time.
They also become an interesting option once your equity gets into the 6 figures, i.e., above 100,000 EUR as certain fees by DEGIRO are based on order size.
DEGIRO: Great online Dutch broker for new and advanced investors
DEGIRO is a real price maverick [NL] in Europe. Traders also might know them for their free ETF selection. Important to note with this “free” selection is that you have to make sure you choose the exact security. “Exact” means: ISIN, name, currency, and exchange have to match. This really summarizes why I’m considering moving my personal portfolio from Lynx to DEGIRO.
At the time of writing, they are active in 18 countries such as, but not limited to:
- The Netherlands
- Czech Republic
While they are well known throughout Europe for their low rates, they also receive (some) critique (at least up until a year or two three ago) for:
- lackluster customer support .
- Lending out stocks depends on whether you have a Basic or Custody account.
DEGIRO has been working on mitigating the first point and you can prevent the second point by opting for a custodian account. Although by doing this, you agree to marginal higher fees in certain cases (please check their site for your country’s fees and charges).
A word of caution about these additional fees. While they seem low at first, once you reach a certain level of equity it pays to look for an alternative broker if you do not want your shares to be lent out (and even if you don’t mind it!).
The biggest benefit of being with DEGIRO
While the rates of DEGIRO are exceptional, the biggest benefit of all is that they offer a commission-free list of trackers! Their so-called Core selection ETF (Dutch: Kernselectie ETF) offers an exhaustive list of trackers that, as long as you follow the requirements, you can purchase without any additional commission. The only thing you have to pay for is the Belgian TOB.
You can find them on this page: https://www.degiro.nl/data/pdf/DEGIRO_Trackers_Kernselectie.pdf
this core selection means that every calendar month you can have one transaction (purchase or sale) per ISIN code, without transaction fees.
If the transaction meets the following conditions:
- The transaction is in the same direction (buy/sell) as the first transaction that month;
- The value of the transaction is at least 1000 EUR, USD, or GBP.
As soon as an opposite transaction or transaction below 1000 EUR (or USD/GBP) is executed in the same ETF
within the same calendar month, the rule is not long