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The best broker for Swiss investors in 2024

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

I have talked about several brokers on this blog. But I have not yet answered the question of which one is the best broker in Switzerland!

This article answers this critical question. There are several Swiss brokers, and most Swiss banks have their own broker service. However, some international brokers are also available in Switzerland.

You need a broker account to invest in the stock market. So, before investing, you need to choose a broker account. You need to choose carefully since changing brokers is neither easy nor free. Therefore, it is essential to pick the best broker possible.

By the end of this article, you will know which broker you should use as a Swiss passive investor in ETF!

How to choose a broker?

Choosing a broker is not very difficult but critical!

You are likely to use the same broker for many years. You can always switch to a new broker. But moving your shares to a new broker is neither free nor straightforward. So, it is better to start with the right decision directly. Ideally, you want to start with the best broker for your needs.

You first need to ensure that you only trade with a reputable broker. You will entrust your investments with this broker. So you want a broker with a good reputation and excellent security.

You must ensure the broker will hold your assets separately from the broker’s legal entity. You can reclaim your assets through the secondary entity if the broker defaults. This separation is called asset segregation, something that any proper broker will do.

Second, you should check whether the broker gives you access to the exchanges you need. For instance, you will need access to the Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX) if you want to trade in Swiss stocks.

Due to a bad set of laws, it is currently challenging to access Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) from the U.S. Indeed, European investors cannot currently invest in these funds.

Only Interactive Brokers (among the affordable brokers) will offer Swiss investors access to these U.S. ETFs. So, your choice is highly limited if you want to invest in these funds.

Finally, you need to look at the prices of transactions. Price is the main issue with most Swiss brokers. They are expensive. As we will see later, there can be a vast difference in fees between different brokers. Most people do not realize this! When you compare brokers, you will see that the difference is too big to ignore!

Out of these three criteria, the third one is the one that requires the most research. Finding reputable and safe brokers is not very difficult. But, finding an affordable broker giving you access to the stock exchanges you need is not always easy. If you research correctly, you will directly start using the best broker for your needs.

The best brokers in Switzerland

As I said before, there are many options. You can probably trade directly with your bank. However, Swiss banks are costly for trading. It would be convenient to trade directly with your bank. Unfortunately, they are too expensive. So, you should not trade with your bank.

In Switzerland, we have a few good options for online brokers. My favorite Swiss online broker is Swissquote (my review of Swissquote). FlowBank (review) and Corner Trader (review) also have acceptable prices.

These are already much more interesting than trading with your bank. But they are not cheap either. Finally, there are several international online brokers available for Swiss investors:

These two brokers are the best options available for Switzerland. They are significantly cheaper than all the other options available in Switzerland. They may not be Swiss, but they offer their services to Swiss investors. This makes them the two best brokers in Switzerland.

To see if this is the case, we will compare the fees of the different brokers. We can also consider that you do not have to pay Swiss Stamp Tax with them.

Comparison of the brokerage fees

We can quickly compare the fees of some of these brokers for some operations.

I cannot compare all the brokers available because there are too many. So, I picked the most popular brokers in Switzerland. I included two bank brokers, two online Swiss brokers, and two international brokers.

This should be a good set of brokers for comparison. This should help to show what are the best brokers in Switzerland.

For information, I am using the Tiered pricing of Interactive Brokers for this comparison. It is generally cheaper than the Fixed pricing.

Here are the fees for these six brokers for a few examples of Swiss and American stock exchange operations. I used the share prices of April 16th, 2022, for the comparison. Here is all the data I have collected:

Action Postfinance Migros Cornèrtrader Swissquote DEGIRO Interactive Brokers
Custody Fees 90 CHF / year 0.23% / year
Min 50 CHF
10 CHF / quarter
If inactive
0.025% / quarter
Min 15 CHF
Max 50 CHF
0 CHF 0 CHF
Buy 10 CHSPI shares 25 CHF 40 CHF 20 CHF 9 CHF 3 EUR 5 CHF
Buy 100 CHSPI shares 50 CHF 40 CHF 23 CHF 9 CHF 3 EUR 5 CHF
Buy 10 NOVN shares 15 CHF 40 CHF 20 CHF 20 CHF 6 CHF 5 CHF
Buy 100 NOVN shares 35 CHF 40 CHF 20 CHF 30 CHF 6 CHF 5 CHF
Buy 10 MSFT shares 35 USD 40 CHF 25 CHF 25 USD 2 EUR 0.35 USD
Buy 100 MSFT shares 70 USD 40 CHF 25 CHF 80 USD 2 EUR 0.36 USD

Or, if you prefer, here is the data in graphical format:

Fees of brokers in Switzerland
Fees of brokers in Switzerland

As expected, the traditional Swiss brokers are in a poor position. Swiss online brokers are already significantly better. For instance, Swissquote is quite affordable in most cases. The worst would be Migros since they do not have a maximum on their custody fees, which is a terrible drag once you have an extensive portfolio.

In all cases, Interactive Brokers is the cheapest broker. In most cases, DEGIRO follows quickly. However, DEGIRO can become expensive when you take currency conversion into account. So our two online foreign brokers are cheaper than the others. In the worst case, IB is hundreds of times more affordable than Swiss brokers!

On average, if you are doing big enough transactions, IB will be much cheaper than the other brokers. They are consistently among the most affordable and are never among the most expensive options. This shows that IB is the best broker available in Switzerland. If you do not want a broker from the US, DEGIRO becomes interesting.

If you want more brokers included in this comparison, let me know. I can extend the list if many people are interested. I understand that some people want to have a Swiss broker. I have an article comparing the best Swiss brokers for them.

Currency exchange fees

Brokerage fees are important, but many often forget about currency exchange fees. This is the fee you pay for exchanging one currency for another.

This fee is important because most Swiss investors will invest in foreign products in a foreign currency. For instance, 80% of my portfolio is in US ETFs in USD. So, every time I invest, I need to convert my CHF to USD.

So, again, we can compare the currency exchange fees for all these brokers.

Conversion Postfinance Migros Cornèrtrader Swissquote DEGIRO Interactive Brokers
100 CHF to EUR 1.2 1 10 0.95 0.25 2
500 CHF to USD 6 5 10 4.75 1.25 2
1000 CHF to EUR 12 10 10 9.5 2.5 2
2000 CHF to EUR 24 20 10 19 5 2
5000 CHF to USD 60 50 25 47.5 12.5 2
10000 CHF TO USD 120 100 50 95 25 2

And here on a graph:

Currency Exchange Fees of brokers in Switzerland
Currency Exchange Fees of brokers in Switzerland

Once again, the two foreign brokers are much better than the Swiss brokers. Interestingly, IB can be relatively expensive for small operations because it has a fixed 2 USD fee. On the other hand, DEGIRO has a 0.25% fee. So, below 800 CHF conversion, DEGIRO will be slightly cheaper than IB.

For small operations, the cheapest Swiss broker will be Swissquote. For larger operations, Cornèrtrader is only twice more expensive than DEGIRO (but much more expensive than IB).

So, we come to the same conclusion as for the previous tables. If you do big enough currency conversions, IB will be much cheaper than the other brokers.

Swiss Stamp Tax and brokers

Switzerland has a Swiss Stamp Tax (or Swiss Stamp Duty). This tax is also called the Swiss Securities Transfer Tax. This is a federal tax.

This levies a tax on each transfer of securities when a Swiss securities dealer is involved. By “Swiss securities dealers”, the tax means Swiss banks and brokers.

The amount of the tax depends on the exchange:

  • Swiss securities: 0.075% fee
  • Foreign securities: 0.15% fee

This tax only applies to Swiss securities dealers, not foreign securities dealers! Choosing a non-Swiss broker will save on the Swiss Stamp Tax! Since this tax is levied in both directions (buy and sell), you are effectively losing 0.30% of your transactions by using a Swiss Broker! Over the years, this can quickly add up to a large amount!

This tax effectively moves people away from Swiss brokers. This law officially makes foreign brokers the best brokers for Swiss investors.

For more information, read my article on the Swiss Stamp Tax Duty.

The two best brokers in Switzerland

As we can see from the comparison, the choice is relatively easy. From a fee point of view, only Interactive Brokers and DEGIRO are good choices. All the others are too expensive. Interactive Brokers is the cheapest of the available brokers.

For me, Interactive Brokers is the best broker available in Switzerland. Even though DEGIRO is cheap, it cannot compare with IB.

There is one big difference currently between these two brokers. Only Interactive Brokers currently offer access to U.S. ETF. So, if you want to invest in U.S. ETF, you must use IB. This is only the case for ETFs. Both brokers are giving access to all other U.S. securities.

Aside from these two differences, they are both good brokers. DEGIRO is much more expensive for currency exchange. This makes it more expensive for a Swiss investor.

On the other hand, DEGIRO is slightly cheaper for European securities. So, it makes DEGIRO interesting for European investors. European investors do not have access to U.S. ETFs anyway, so they have more choices of brokers.

IB is cheaper and offers excellent foreign exchange trading. And it provides tons of features and analysis tools. This comes at the price of complexity. At first sight, Interactive Brokers is quite intimidating. But it has become better and better over the years. As a simple investor, you will only need a small portion of all the features of IB.

Interactive Brokers – The best broker

The best broker
Interactive Brokers
5.0
No custody fees

The broker you need to buy stocks and ETFs reliably and at extremely affordable prices. Trade U.S. stocks for as little as 0.5 USD!

Pros:
  • Extremely affordable
  • Wide range of investing instruments
Invest your money Read My Review

As mentioned before, Interactive Brokers is the only one of the two best brokers to give you access to U.S. ETFs. So, if you plan to invest in them, IB should be your choice. It is my favorite broker, the one I use and recommend!

Interactive Brokers is a broker from the United States. But if you are in Europe, you will use its United Kingdom subsidiary. But this remains the same broker. It is a very well-established broker founded in 1978. It has many customers all over the world.

Although it is a low-cost broker, it offers many features. They offer access to almost all instruments available in many stock exchanges. You can trade in stocks, contracts, options, and other derivatives. And they have an excellent platform for FOREX trading. For passive investors, you will have many more features than you need.

The most significant disadvantage of IB is that it is sometimes a little obscure to use. IB has many user interfaces. Initially, it is unclear which one you should use.

Other than that, IB is an excellent broker!

If you are interested, I have a guide on opening an account at Interactive Brokers and a guide on trading ETFs with Interactive Brokers.

DEGIRO – The simplest broker

DEGIRO is the broker I have started with. It is a good and cheap broker. It is relatively simple to use. However, they are much less professional than IB.

DEGIRO is a broker from The Netherlands available to most European countries. It started in 2008, and they have been growing fast since then. Now, they are one of the major brokers in Europe.

One disadvantage of DEGIRO is that it does not offer proper FOREX trading. You cannot hold different currencies in your account. Your cash is converted automatically when you trade in a foreign currency.

And you will have to pay fees for these transactions. This makes it more expensive than IB when your base currency is not the currency of your primary ETF.

It can also be more expensive on some transactions than Interactive Brokers. But this should not be a  big difference unless you are doing substantial transactions.

A significant limitation is that DEGIRO does not let Swiss investors invest in U.S. ETFs. This is probably fine for starting investors and people who do not plan to invest much money. But with an extensive portfolio, you can save significant money investing in these U.S. ETFs.

Finally, you need to be aware that, by default, DEGIRO will lend your shares to other investors. On IB, you can choose to do so, and they will distribute half of the profits to you, another significant advantage for IB.

If you are interested, I have a tutorial on how to open an account with DEGIRO.

What if you want to use a Swiss broker?

Best Swiss Broker
Swissquote
4.5
Very affordable

Everything you need to start investing in the stock market! Open an account with Swissquote and get 100 CHF in trading credits with my code MKT_THEPOORSWISS.

Pros:
  • Swiss broker
  • Easy to use
Invest with MKT_THEPOORSWISS code Read Our Review
The MKT_THEPOORSWISS code is only valid for active Swiss accounts.

As you can see, Swiss brokers cannot compare with these international brokers. Using Interactive Brokers or DEGIRO will let you save some money. And I do not think we will see any Swiss broker cheaper than these two soon.

However, Swiss brokers are not all bad. Some Swiss brokers are bad and only try to get money out of you. But that is not the case for every Swiss broker. They are more expensive for several reasons:

  1. They have to obey different regulations
  2. They have to pay Swiss employees (they cost more)
  3. They have to deal with Swiss banks (they cost more)

There are several good Swiss brokers. So, if you are uncomfortable having your shares in a foreign broker, you can check out the best Swiss brokers. I would personally use Swissquote if I were to use a Swiss broker. You can check out my review of Swissquote for more info.

You can still invest successfully with a Swiss broker, which will be more costly. If this brings you peace of mind, you should accept the price. Peace of mind is better than optimization!

Conclusion

Interactive Brokers is the best broker available in Switzerland. They are both reputable and safe brokers. And they are the cheapest brokers available in Switzerland. Moreover, you will save on the Swiss Stamp Duty that you only have to pay with Swiss brokers.

Swiss brokers are working fine, and they have nothing fundamentally wrong. But they are much more expensive than online foreign brokers.

And when you add the Swiss Stamp Duty on top of that, the difference is significant. You do not want to waste your returns on fees when you invest. So, you need to minimize the fees. And for that, you need to choose the best brokers.

I firmly believe that Interactive Brokers is the best broker for Swiss investors in all cases. There are a few cases where DEGIRO is slightly cheaper than Interactive Brokers.

And IB is a much more complete solution for investors. It also has a better reputation. Finally, given that they offer access to U.S. ETFs, IB can help you save a lot of money. If you want, here is a guide on how to get started with Interactive Brokers.

And again, if you want a Swiss broker, I got you covered with my comparison of the best Swiss brokers.

What about you? What is the best broker for you?

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Baptiste Wicht started thepoorswiss.com in 2017. He realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

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217 thoughts on “The best broker for Swiss investors in 2024”

  1. Hey Baptiste, thanks for a great blog – full of hugely informative and useful guidance on retail investing in Switzerland. I just opened an account with Interactive Brokers and I’m looking to invest in the UBS SPI ETF. IB lists 6 exchanges where I can buy: EBS BATECH AQXECH TRQXCH CHIXCH. For EBS the IBKR symbol is SPICHA, for the other four it is SPICZz. Do you have any advice on the differences among these exchanges? Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

    1. Hi Frank

      There is very little difference between different exchanges, it should be the same ETF. One difference could be the trading currency (which won’t change the holding currency).
      For a Swiss ETF, I think EBS is perfectly fine since it’s the Swiss exchange for ETFs. It just makes sense.

  2. Hello Baptiste,

    Thanks for the review. As someone who is an EU national and moved to Switzerland for work and tax residency, I now ended up with my European broker accs (T212, DeGiro and IB) and the possibility to open Swiss broker accounts (maybe worth to change my tax res in IB too :p)

    But my question is regarding the best broker only for buying Swiss government bonds. I’ll keep my stock investing in my European brokers, but I can’t find either IB or DeGiro or other to have Swiss government bonds. What would be the best option?

    From some of the comparisons in prices, it seems that with current rates it might not even be worth it unless you’re planning to invest 100k CHF or approx, due to Custody fees in Flow or Swissquote.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks
    Have a great one

    1. Hi João

      That’s a good question. I don’t think you can buy them on IB. And I have never bought bonds directly, so I have not really compared them directly.
      As far as I know, you can’t buy government bonds directly, but you can buy plenty of corporate bonds with a Swiss broker like Swissquote.
      Generally, people buy their bonds from Swiss banks directly, not from brokers. The system here is more opaque than in the US.

  3. Hi Baptiste!
    Thank you for the clear blog! I was wondering if there are tax implications for using IB instead of Swiss brokers? For example, would the capital gains be taxed the same whether they are invested through IB vs. Swissquote?
    Many thanks in advance!

  4. Hi Baptiste
    Did your ever considered Fundsmith Equity Fund as an alternative to ETFs on IB? When looking at the average yearly returns in long perspective, it is pretty impressive.

    Cheers
    Maciej

    1. Hi Maciej

      No I did not consider it. They have an ongoing charge of about 1%, which is too expensive for me. They do seem to have a nice performance history, for global stocks. But I don’t think that in the long term their fees will compensate for that.

  5. Hi Baptiste,
    I think there is a decimal error in the second row of the “currency exchange fees” table, no? The rates of many brokers are indicated lower at 500 CHF than at 100 CHF, which it looks like is because the decimal point is shifted.

  6. I haven’t yet found a single solution in Switzerland that is better than my ETF savings plan with a German bank. It has 0% holding fee as long as you have one order per quarter. The fees on single orders are 1.5% with no minimum (IB has a minimum 1.25€ for European ETFs, I honestly don’t want to open the box with the US ETFs and that additional form in the tax declaration).
    Also, it’s an automated process that buys shares for a fixed amount on a fixed day per month. A financial advisor told me about TruWealth once but they had a minimum investment that I could not match. And also those holding fees per month which just suck away so much of your gains.

    On the other hand, in Germany a tax of 25% is levied on all value gains but I understand there is a way to get that back from the German tax office. So I should just sell in a limited number of years to avoid unnecessary paperwork.

  7. Hi Baptiste,

    I have been investing in ETF (world-emerging-gold, long-term) with DEGIRO, which I chose also thanks to your reviews and advice over the years :)

    I am happy with my strategy, but as a Swiss investor, I am now facing a significant problem: if I look at my “Unrealised P/L”, the “Currency P/L” halved my “Product P/L”… The CHF is getting too strong against the EURO and this is causing a significant (indirect) loss of earnings for those who invest CHF in European stock markets (like with DEGIRO) and want, eventually, to sell such stocks. If I look at the CHF/USD trend (considering for example the use of IB rather than DEGIRO), I could make a similar conclusion.

    What is your opinion on the matter and how do you think we can we limit such loss? Swiss banks and Swiss brokers are too expensive… I am wondering if it be worth to continue using DEGIRO but with an hedged fund. I know it is more expensive for insurances costs, etc… but do you think it would be a smart choice for long-term investements?

    If it’s difficult to make a general assumption, we can also focus on one product, as the iShares MSCI World CHF Hedged UCITS ETF (Acc).

    Thank you very much :)

    1. Hi Ivan

      You are correct that having our base currency as the CHF can be a disadvantage. We must not expect real returns as high as the real returns for a US investor, because the CHF is generally gaining value against the USD.
      Using DEGIRO is not the problem. I see the same thing with IBKR and US ETFs.
      Usually, currency hedging is great in the short term but not so great in the long term. They will not protect against the entire risk and the fees and imperfections of hedging will weight against you.
      You could invest more in CHF (not hedging, CH ETFs), but this will not solve the entire issue because CH companies also have the same problem.

      For me, the solution is to just live with it. We can’t get US performance in Switzeralnd, but we can get good performance. Depending on the period, we may lose more money than at other times, but on average we have to assume lower returns.

  8. Hi Baptiste – if a robo-advisor is preferred, have you ever checked to see whether the performance of Selma vs. True Wealth differs? Just curious!’

    1. hi!
      As a new beginner investor, I am also interested in this.
      I have heard advice that as a beginner investor with very little knowledge of finance, it’s easier to start with a robo-advisor (such as Selma, True Wealth, etc).

      The reason being is (and I’m not sure of this reason why), because the robo-advisors ask you questions to evaluate your risk-profile (100% invested, 80% invested, etc) and then once you confirm your profile, it automatically selects a list of funds/ETFs for you. Hence, you just focus on how much risk you want to take and the robo-advisor does the rest of the job for you, similar to how the 3a account in finpension and viac works. Is this right ? Is this the functionning and the goal of the robo-advisors ? Can they be trusted though? lol I mean how do I know they are choosing the right picks for me?!

      Quick question if you haven’t answered it already on your blog:

      – The recommendation to invest in the 3a invested portfolio’s at finpension or viac is to invest a sum of money MONTHLY.

      – When one wants to start investing without the legal frame-work of 3a, i.e. investing on your own with TrueWealth, Interactive Brokers, etc, do you recommend e investing monthly or quarterly, annually ?

      Thank YOU!

      1. Yes, this is right. Most robo-advisors will simply generate a fixed portfolio and then invest your money in that portfolio and rebalance it for you.
        Robo-advisors are not nearly as smart as people think (or as banks would like you to believe), they generate one portfolio and are basically done with it.
        They are some exceptions where they will do changes over time to react to market. But that’s not necessarily a good thing since active investing is not often beating passive investing.

        It’s difficult to say whether they will pick the proper ETFs for you. But then, ask yourself this: Would you pick the best ETFs for yourself? Would a bank pick better ETFs?
        * If you don’t have experience, robo-advisors (and banks likely) will do a better job than you because their choices are based on strong models. But it’s not difficult to pick a portfolio as good as a robo-advisor with a little experience and research

        For your last question, you can read this article: You should invest every month not every quarter

    2. Hi Micah

      No, I have never done that. It’s difficult to compare them, because they have wildly different portfolios. We should generate a portfolio with the same aggressiveness and then backtest its performance (which may be hard since they don’t use the same ETFs and it means different durations).

  9. Hello,
    Is there a reason why you did not include “Trade Direct”, the online trading platform from BCV?
    Do you have any experience with this broker? I had a quick look and it seems like a solid choice.

    1. It boils down to two things: I never did a full review of this broker and I can’t include them all!

      If people are interested, I could review it and then potentially include it in this comparison if it’s any good.

      1. One criteria is to look at their market share to gauge their importance. I found market share data from 2020,
        The table below shows the market share of the top 5 Swiss online brokers in 2020:

        Broker Market Share
        Swissquote 41%
        FlowBank 17%
        Saxo Bank 14%
        CornèrTrader 7%
        TradeDirect 5%

        Another key point is that TradeDirect is associated with BCV (one of the few AA-rated banks, hence security of capital)

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