Download this e-book and optimize your finances and save money by using the best financial services available in Switzerland!
The best financial services for your money!

Download this e-book and optimize your finances and save money by using the best financial services available in Switzerland!

Download The FREE e-book

What is the best Swiss broker in 2023?

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

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

You need a broker account to invest in the stock market. And many Swiss investors only feel comfortable having a broker from Switzerland or at least a broker with an office in Switzerland.

So, we need to compare these Swiss brokers and see which is best for a Swiss investor to invest in the stock market.

In this article, I compare seven Swiss brokers in different scenarios and see the best (the cheapest!).

What makes the best Swiss broker?

Swiss brokers are extremely similar. They are all regulated similarly, and most have the same features. What matters most in choosing the best Swiss broker is the price!

Some people will argue that we must look at their tools and reporting capability. But this is not a good criterion for most investors. For a passive investor, you need to be able to buy shares of ETFs. That is it.

It does not matter how shiny the graphs of your net worth are or how many possible algorithms you can use for active trading. What matters is to minimize the price you will pay for your transactions.

I spend less than 10 minutes a month on my broker account. I do not care how beautiful or how easy it is. I want to be able to buy the ETFs from my portfolio at a low cost. And I want my money to be safe.

The other thing that matters is that the broker gives you access to the stock exchanges we need. In the case of a Swiss broker, we need at least access to the Swiss stock exchange. We also need access to the major European Stock Exchanges. Ideally, we want access to U.S. ETFs as well. Unfortunately, not all Swiss brokers still give you this access.

Even without U.S. ETFs, it would be great to have access to the major U.S. stock exchanges. Although passive investing is the way for most people, many investors still want access to American companies.

So, I compare some Swiss brokers over different scenarios. And for each scenario, we see which one is the cheapest. This article is not meant to be a review of these brokers. But I have reviews of most of these brokers.

Some Swiss Brokers

I have selected seven Swiss brokers for this comparison:

  1. Swissquote, an online broker. You can read my complete Swissquote review for more information.
  2. PostFinance, the Swiss Post Bank. My complete review of PostFinance E-trading is also available.
  3. Saxo Bank, an investment company with a branch in Switzerland.
  4. CornerTrader, an online broker. I have a complete CornerTrader review for more information.
  5. Migros Bank, the bank from Migros.
  6. FlowBank, a new online broker. You can read my full review of FlowBank for more info.
  7. Yuh, an online broker from PostFinance and Swissquote, is made for beginners. I have also a full review of Yuh.

These are brokers that many people are using in Switzerland. And they are the cheapest brokers that I was able to find.

CornerTrader has two accounts useful for passive investors: Private and Capital. Capital is cheaper than Private and only requires you to have 75’000 CHF on your account. So, I will compare the fees for these two accounts.

Saxo also has several account types depending on the trading volume. Unfortunately, it is not clear how much trading volume is necessary. So, I assume we are using the Saxo Classic account.

I also wanted to include Strateo since it is reasonably priced. Unfortunately, Saxo Bank bought Strateo. Interestingly, Saxo Bank is significantly more expensive than Strateo. So, instead of lowering prices, Swiss Banks are buying cheaper competitors. This gives you an idea of how little they care about their customers.

All of these brokers give you access to many stock exchanges. You will have to pay the Swiss Stamp Tax Duty with all Swiss brokers, so we will ignore it in our comparisons because it would be the same anyway.

I will start by comparing several individual fees of each broker. And then, I will run through some scenarios to see more in detail which is best.

Custody Fees of Swiss brokers

First, we look at the custody fees of these brokers.

A custody fee is something you pay just to keep your account open. Often, the custody fee is expressed as a percentage of the value of your portfolio. Also, these fees often have a minimum and sometimes a maximum.

The custody fee is significant because you will pay it if you have an account. If you plan to retire on your portfolio, a large custody fee will make it more difficult during the accumulation and withdrawal phases.

Here are the custody fees of our seven brokers:

Here are the custody fees you would pay with these brokers:

Swiss Broker Custody Fees
Swiss Broker Custody Fees

From this chart, the conclusion should be fairly obvious. Neither Saxo Bank nor Migros Bank looks to be a good fit for a Swiss investor. To manage a one million CHF portfolio with Saxo Bank, you would pay 1800 CHF per year, and with Migros Bank, you would pay 2100 CHF per year! This is bad.

In comparison, all the other brokers are pretty good on that note. To see better, here is the same graph without Saxo Bank and Migros Bank:

Cheapest Swiss Broker Custody Fees
Cheapest Swiss Broker Custody Fees

The best is always CornerTrader since they have no custody fees. And the most expensive brokers are Swissquote and FlowBank because they have the highest maximum. But to me, they all look acceptable. For small portfolios, FlowBank can sometimes be cheap as well since they have a small minimum.

You should not worry too much about a 200 CHF custody fee for large portfolios. However, the 0.03% fee for Swissquote on large portfolios (more than a million) can make a large difference if you have to pay that during retirement.

Inactivity Fee

The second fee we need to look at is the inactivity fee.

Some brokers charge a fee when you do not do any action on your account during a specific period. It is very close to a custody fee, but it is only charged when you do not use your account.

This fee is not as crucial as the custody fee since you will not pay it during the accumulation phase. But if you plan to retire on your portfolio, it is still important because you will pay it during your entire retirement.

Out of the seven brokers, only two of them have inactivity fees. Saxo Bank charges 89 CHF per quarter without trade. And CornerTrader charges 35 CHF per quarter without trade.

Here is the yearly inactivity fee for each of the Swiss brokers:

Swiss Brokers Yearly Inactivity Fee
Swiss Brokers Yearly Inactivity Fee

Once again, Saxo Bank is pretty bad, with more than 300 CHF per year of inactivity fees. CornerTrader had no custody fees, but their inactivity fees were significant. This is why it is important to always consider everything. All the other brokers have no inactivity fee. On the other hand, 300 CHF per year is not such a bad amount, especially compared to the amounts you have to pay in custody fees at SAXO Bank.

Buy shares of Swiss ETF with a Swiss broker

The next fee we will look at is the fee to buy shares of  Swiss ETF. A Swiss investor is likely making several such transactions per year.

Here are the fees for ETFs on the Swiss Stock Exchange:

Here are fees for one buy operation of a Swiss ETF with different order sizes:

Buy shares of a Swiss ETF with Swiss Brokers
Buy shares of a Swiss ETF with Swiss Brokers

Since it is free for these ETFs, FlowBank is the cheapest broker to buy Swiss ETFs. After Flowbank, Yuh is the cheapest for small operations, while Swissquote is the most affordable broker for large operations. FlowBank, Yuh, and FlowBank can be significantly cheaper than the other brokers.

The other ones are relatively comparable. Migros Bank is quite expensive for operations up to 25’000 CHF. After this, it is becoming relatively okay. And PostFinance is not bad for small operations but pretty bad for large operations. It is also worth mentioning that Yuh is bad for large operations since it has no maximum.

Buy shares of European ETFs with a Swiss broker

We can do the same exercise with European ETFs.

A Swiss investor who wants to diversify globally must invest in European ETFs. There are much more ETFs on the European Stock Exchange than the Swiss Stock Exchange.

For this example, I take Euronext Paris as an example. The fees are slightly different for some brokers based on which European Stock Exchange is being used.

Here are the fees for ETFs on the Euronext Stock Exchange:

Here are fees for one buy operation of a European ETF with different order sizes:

Buy shares of an European ETF (Euronext Paris) with Swiss Brokers
Buy shares of an European ETF (Euronext Paris) with Swiss Brokers

These results are quite interesting. For small operations (below 2000 EUR), Yuh is the cheapest with a good margin. Then, for medium operations, FlowBank is the cheapest. Then, for large operations, Saxo is significantly better than the others. With a minimum of only 10 EUR and a low percentage fee, Saxo Bank is quite interesting for trading European ETFs.

All the others are more expensive in this case. After Saxo Bank and FlowBank, the third cheapest Swiss broker is CornerTrader with its Capital account. Finally, Yuh becomes bad for large operations.

Buy shares of U.S. companies with a Swiss broker

The last fee we will look at is the fee to buy shares of U.S. companies.

Even though this is not passive investing, it is interesting because many passive investors still buy some shares of companies. And in general, they are buying shares of American companies. For brokers that allow buying U.S. ETFs, this will be the same fee.

Here are the fees for stocks on the NYSE:

Here are fees for one buy operation of a U.S. stock with different order sizes:

Buy shares of a U.S. company (NYSE) with Swiss Brokers
Buy shares of a U.S. company (NYSE) with Swiss Brokers

For small operations, Yuh is the cheapest broker. Then, for medium operations, FlowBank is the cheapest. Starting from 10’000 USD, CornerTrader becomes the cheapest broker. Yuh, FlowBank, and CornerTrader have small minimums, making them significantly cheaper than the others.

For large operations, both Swissquote and PostFinance are pretty bad in this situation. Just after FlowBank and CornerTrader, Saxo Bank is relatively cheap as well. And Yuh is bad for large operations as well.

For these three stock operations, we can draw some conclusions:

  1. Yuh is great for small operations (and bad for large operations)
  2. FlowBank is great for medium operations
  3. Swissquote is good on average
  4. CornerTrader and SAXO can be quite good on some large operations

Currency Exchange Fees

Finally, before moving into the different scenarios, we need to consider the currency exchange fees. If you want to buy an ETF in EUR, you must convert your CHF to EUR.

Here are the currency conversion fees of these seven brokers:

These fees are the same for CHF to USD and CHF to EUR. You may have to pay higher fees if you use more minor currencies. But these fees are all significant already!

Here are the fees for one conversion from CHF to USD for different order sizes:

Swiss Broker Currency Conversion Fees
Swiss Broker Currency Conversion Fees

It is easy to conclude from this graph: FlowBank and CornerTrader have a fair price, and all the others are much more expensive. Even with a minimum of 10 CHF, the 0.50% fee compared to the average 1% of the other Swiss brokers makes FlowBank and CornerTrader the only good Swiss brokers for currency conversion.

Scenario 1: One Swiss ETF per month

Until now, we have only considered a single operation in isolation. But it is much more interesting to look at everything together. We must look at a year of trading with transaction and custody fees together.

One first scenario is for an investor that buys shares of one Swiss ETF (in CHF) per month. Many Swiss investors are only using the Swiss Stock Exchange. Since we must consider the custody fee, we must run the scenario with several portfolio sizes.

Also, since the prices change based on the order size, we must choose an order size. For this scenario, the investor is buying 2000 CHF worth of shares every month. 2000 CHF is a good average for monthly investing.

So without further ado, we take a look at the fees of each of these brokers for one year for this scenario:

Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in Swiss ETFs
Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in Swiss ETFs

We can see that Swiss Investors should entirely ignore both Migros Bank and Saxo Bank. Their custody fees are too high for any serious investor. So, we can see this graph again with the reasonable brokers:

Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in Swiss ETFs
Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in Swiss ETFs

Interestingly, Yuh is great for large portfolios (having no custody fees), while FlowBank is great for small portfolios.

After this, Swissquote is great for small portfolios, while CornerTrader is great for larger portfolios, but the differences are not very significant.

So, overall, in this scenario, I would use either Yuh or FlowBank, or Swissquote.

Scenario 2: One European ETF per month

A more interesting scenario would be to invest in ETFs on the European Stock Exchanges. Again, we look at one entire year of trading.

We will use a monthly investment of 2000 EUR in European ETFs for this scenario. And again, since custody fees are a thing, we will use different portfolio sizes.

Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in European ETFs
Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in European ETFs

As expected, the two brokers with bad custody fees must be ignored again. So, here is the graph again without them:

Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in European ETFs
Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in European ETFs

We can see that when adding currency conversion fees into the scenario, the results are slightly different, and everything is more expensive. With this, I would not recommend PostFinance anymore because of its bad currency conversion fee.

The differences are not very significant between the best brokers (CornerTrader, FlowBank, and Yuh). FlowBank is excellent for small portfolios, while Yuh is best for large ones. Swissquote is okay for small but not necessarily good for large portfolios.

In this scenario, I would personally use Yuh. But the differences are not very significant once we remove the high custody fees brokers.

Scenario 3: Withdraw once a year

For our last scenario, we take something different.

The other two scenarios would represent an investor during the accumulation phase. Now, we can take a scenario that would represent the retirement phase.

If you want to retire based on your portfolio, you must sell shares to live from it. So, our scenario investor is selling for 60’000 CHF every year to live from his portfolio. Since custody fees will play into this scenario, we need different portfolio sizes.

First, we start with an investor selling for 60’000 CHF of a Swiss ETF at the beginning of the year:

Fees of Swiss Brokers in Retirement with Swiss ETFs (yearly withdrawal)
Fees of Swiss Brokers in Retirement with Swiss ETFs (yearly withdrawal)

This is where we can see the impact of high custody fees. In retirement, you have no income, and you could give your broker several thousand Swiss francs yearly! I would not recommend anyone to invest with such a broker! You need to find a broker with which the custody fee has a maximum.

Here are the other four choices:

Fees of Swiss Brokers in Retirement with Swiss ETFs (yearly withdrawal)
Fees of Swiss Brokers in Retirement with Swiss ETFs (yearly withdrawal)

With the extra fee starting at one million CHF, Swissquote is quite expensive for retired people living from their investments.

After this, there is barely any difference between the brokers. There is a 100 CHF per year difference here between the cheapest and the most expensive one. This difference does not matter.

To avoid inactivity fees, we can also withdraw money each month. Withdrawing every month also has the advantage of keeping your money invested longer. I have run simulations, and historically, it is better to withdraw more frequently.

If the money is withdrawn each month instead, the results are still very similar:

Fees of Swiss Brokers in Retirement with Swiss ETFs (monthly withdrawal)
Fees of Swiss Brokers in Retirement with Swiss ETFs (monthly withdrawal)

The differences are about the same here. 100 CHF per year is not a huge difference. Nevertheless, CornerTrader is the cheapest option once again.  And Swissquote is significantly more expensive given its extra fee.

Some people will argue that selling each quarter would be optimal to avoid the inactivity and large transaction fees. But this is a meaningless optimization. It will make very little difference whatsoever. You should withdraw either once a year or once a month. Ideally, once a month will have better returns in the long term since you keep the money in the market as long as possible. But of course, there are other things to take into account.

Finally, we can see what happens when we sell ETF shares on the European stock exchange instead of the Swiss Stock Exchange. Here are the results with our four affordable Swiss brokers:

Fees of Swiss Brokers in Retirement with Swiss ETFs (monthly withdrawal)
Fees of Swiss Brokers in Retirement with Swiss ETFs (monthly withdrawal)

This time, the difference is more significant due to currency conversion fees. FlowBank and CornerTrader get better than the others due to being twice cheaper at converting currencies.

In that scenario, I would use either FlowBank or CornerTrader.


Best Swiss Broker
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.

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

Swiss brokers are expensive, but you can find some brokers cheaper than others if you search well. If you want a Swiss broker, I recommend either Swissquote or Yuh.

Yuh is great for beginners, given its low costs on small operations. And Swissquote is great for more advanced investors, with good average fees overall. Also, Swissquote has a good reputation and is well-established. The fact that PostFinance and Swissquote back Yuh is also a good sign for the product’s future.

I would use Swissquote myself if I were to use a Swiss broker.  However, it is not perfect. Its fees are average, rarely the best. And the extra fee starting at one million CHF is bad news for retirement.

FlowBank is interesting as well, but I feel like they are currently too young to recommend them. But if you want to try different brokers, they are an excellent second choice. They will very likely be the cheapest broker for you.

CornerTrader has some interesting facts as well, but I do not feel confident about this broker. It has a mixed reputation at best.

Another important conclusion from this article is that serious investors should not use a broker with a custody fee without a maximum. This becomes very quickly too expensive. For this reason, I would not recommend using either Saxo Bank or Migros Bank. They are way too expensive and will drag your returns down. And some Swiss brokers are even more expensive than these two. So, Swiss investors should be careful.

If you are ready to use a foreign broker, I recommend investing with Interactive Brokers, which is cheaper. However, if you are afraid of having your money outside of Switzerland, it is much better to use a Swiss broker than not to invest at all! And since many of my readers requested this from me so often, I feel like I had to write this article. I hope that cheaper brokers will come in the future.

If you want more details on the winners, you can read their reviews:

If you think investing fees can be taken lightly, you should read my article about investing fees and their impact.

What is your favorite Swiss broker?

The best financial services for your money!

Download this e-book and optimize your finances and save money by using the best financial services available in Switzerland!

Download The FREE e-book
Photo of Baptiste Wicht

Baptiste Wicht started 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.

Recommended reading

33 thoughts on “What is the best Swiss broker in 2023?”

  1. Isn’t Trading212 better than IB?
    There are no cash deposit fees with Trading212, but with IB there is. (min. 50CHF)

    1. Hi FA,

      Why would you deposit cash on your broker? Why don’t you do a bank transfer? It’s free.
      I am not a big fan of Trading212. It does not have fees, but has larger spreads, which may make it more expensive than IB. It also insists on CFDs, which I don’t like.
      And they don’t give access to the Swiss stock exchange.
      It’s also regulated in Cyprus, which has a bad reputation.

      Overall, I don’t trust them as much as I trust IB.

  2. Really good post as always.

    Something that is interesting to think about is the fee for moving your securities to another broker. I never thought about it until now.

    I have opened a IB and a Flowbank account. And I was planning to move my stocks to my new accounts (swiss ones on Flowbank and US to IB).

    My plan has changed a bit. Postfinance charges 107 CHF for each security you transfer. I have more than 10 of these, it would cost more than 1000CHF to move them.
    Basically now I am waiting until I get to a good price to sell to then transfer money instead of moving the securities.

    Flowbank charges 45 CHF for transferring securities for example.

    1. That’s a good point. There are major differences between brokers for transferring securities. But most people should not worry about that since most people don’t have a portfolio to transfer in the first place :)

      Personally, I use the sell and transfer technique, but I would not do it again. With timing and the time it takes to transfer money from one broker to another, it can be a big loss (or gain). Next time, I will simply pay the damn fee.

  3. Hey Mr poorswiss

    How good is the IB app? (Only 3* in Appstore)

    Probably it would be good to exchange CHF to USD with Wise or Revolut to avoid currency fees?

    Thanks for help!

    1. Hi Dave,

      For what I am doing with it, the IB app is good. But I rarely use it, I am desktop user. But it tells me how much is my portfolio worth and lets me buy and sell from it directly without issues. So, it does exactly what I need :)

      No, it’s not really necessary. You will 2 USD per currency exchange, regardless of the size. Unless you are investing very little amounts, this will be better than Wise and likely better than Revolut given the monthly free limit.

  4. Thank you for another amazing article! I love your blog !
    I live in Switzerland and I have already an account with IB. I’m now considering trying flow bank with the goal on not holding all my assets in foreign broker like IB , but Having 50/50 or something like That for better security.

    Do you think this could make sense or investing with 2 different brokers would become just too expensive in terms of fees ?

    1. Thanks for your kind words!

      I think it makes sense but only starting from some amount of money. If you have 10K, I would not do that. But starting from portfolios higher than 100K, it starts to make sense.
      And in any case, if it helps you sleep at night, then do it, regardless of the amount.
      I am considering doing that myself later.

  5. Hi,
    I really appreciate and enjoy your blogs.
    You have mentioned that much (80%) of your shares are in the US stocks and in USD.
    In case you plan to live in Switzerland after retirement, what is your plan for Exchange rates?
    I looked at the trend of USD/CHF and CHF has appreciated from 1.37 in 2003 to 0.92 as of now.
    Will this not eat up the savings if this continues?
    Are you not better off investing in CHF than USD?

    1. Hi Anuman,

      In retirement, it could eat up some savings indeed. However, investing in CHF is not a great option either since there are not enough good ETFs in CHF. And hedging in CHF is expensive and in most cases not proven to be beneficial. You can read this article for more information: Should you use currency hedging in your portfolio?
      For now, I believe that 20% in CHF is enough for me. But this could change in the future. I am extremely far from retirement, so I may change my mind in the future.
      I will also receive a pension in CHF while retired and I will receive my second and third pillar in CHF, so this will help tilt the balance.

      1. And with amount of US dollars “printed” during pandemic do you still think it is feasible to keep majority of your stocks in US?

        PS: Great article, I would never be able to analyze it myself.

      2. I think it’s still feasible yes. But it does worry me a little. Depending on how they take it, I may switch a little more of my money towards CHF funds.

  6. Hi, many thanks for this research.
    One thing I would like to ask: regarding trading ETFs at Swiss Stock Exchange with Swissquote, is the flat rate of 9CHF applying only to ETF listed in CHF or to all ETF listed at Swiss stock exchange?

  7. Hi, great read! I wanted to ask you one question. There is one graph (Yearly fees for Swiss Brokers for monthly investing in European ETFs), would you be able to share the excel of the same output with 1 trade every two months or 2 trade every quarter to compare the costs cross brokers/portfolios? Thank you in advance

      1. For the moment I can’t wrap my head around one thing:

        You have CHF, which you need to convert to USD to work with US broker. It incurs some conversion and transaction fee.

        Then they need to buy Swiss shares with CHF, and incur conversion fee.

        At the end story repeats.

        So, it makes sense to buy long term only to offset these fees somehow, right?

      2. Hi Alex,

        With a good broker, such conversion is not that bad. But it’s true that with a Swiss broker, it’s pretty bad with a minimum of 0.50% with CornerTrader.
        However, you can also transfer CHF to your foreign broker, like IB. When I buy CHF-stocks in IB, I directly use my CHF, no need to convert anything. I hold both CHF and USD on IB.
        And a currency conversion on IB costs 2 USD.

  8. Great article again, thanks.

    How difficult/sensible would it be to change brokers dependent upon your portfolio size or accumulation vs withdrawal phases?

    1. Hi,

      It’s not that difficult to change brokers. In most cases, brokers have an automated system to transfer your shares from one broker to another. With this system, you will pay fees for each position you are transferring. So, if you have many positions, you will have to pay substantial amounts. If you only have one or two, you should be fine.
      I have an article about changing brokers, this could be helpful.

Leave a Reply

Your comment may not appear instantly since it has to go through moderation. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *