Saxo Markets vs Interactive Brokers (2022 Comparison)


Saxo Markets and Interactive Brokers (IBKR) are two well-established brokerages that offer extensive market access at low fees. Both cater to serious traders with their advanced tools and analytics.

But between the two, which is better for your needs?

We’ve compared the most important criteria to help you decide which broker is best for you. We’ll cover:

Overview: Saxo Markets vs Interactive Brokers

Saxo Markets is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank, a Danish institution that adheres to regulatory requirements in 15 jurisdictions, including Singapore, Denmark, and the UK. It’s headquartered in Copenhagen but has offices in major financial hubs such as London, Paris, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, and Denmark.The original group behind Interactive Brokers was founded in 1978 as a market maker. It’s currently the largest electronic trading platform in the US by volume. It’s headquartered in the US but has offices in 9 countries, including Singapore, London, India, Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan.

Reliability & Safety

To be sure that a brokerage is safe, you should check how you’ll be protected if something goes wrong. Investor protection means that you get your money back up to a specific limit if the broker goes into bankruptcy or commits fraud.

How are your funds protected?

Saxo Markets
  • Licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under Capital Markets Services
  • Also regulated in Denmark, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hong Kong, Australia
  • Client funds kept in segregated custodian account, separate from Saxo Markets’ operations and assets
  • Securities kept in segregated accounts
  • Performs daily reconciliation of client funds in the segregated accounts with the account values of clients
Interactive Brokers
  • Licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under Capital Markets Services
  • Also regulated in Ireland, Hungary, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, the UK, and the US
  • Client funds kept in segregated accounts, separate from IBKR’s  operations and assets
  • Member of NYSE, FINRA, and SIPC
  • Performs daily reconciliation of client funds in the segregated accounts with the account values of clients
  • Your US securities account is covered by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) up to $500,000

Both Saxo Markets and Interactive Brokers hold Capital Markets Services licences under the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). 

Saxo Markets is also fully regulated and licensed in 15 jurisdictions, including Denmark, the UK, and Singapore. On the other hand, Interactive Brokers is licensed in eight other regions apart from Singapore.

Both Interactive Brokers and Saxo Markets operate with a custodian model. The broker holds client assets on their behalf. Sounds risky, but this is the norm for brokerages that allow users to buy foreign investments.

Winner for ‘Reliability & Safety’: It’s a Tie

Both are reputable institutions with solid track records, so it depends on the markets you’d like to trade. IBKR offers investors more protection with US securities, but Saxo holds licences in more European jurisdictions.

How Easy Is It to Sign Up and Fund Your Account?

Saxo Markets

Account opening fully online ✓ 
Minimum deposit: S$3,000 1
Time to open account: 1-3 days
Interactive Brokers

Account opening fully online ✓ 
Minimum deposit: $0 2
Time to open account: 1-3 days

Both brokerages have easy registration processes via Singpass MyInfo.

Alternatively, you can manually fill out your personal information and provide supporting documents on the Saxo Markets or Interactive Brokers websites. 

Saxo Markets 3


Other methods/currencies: Telegraphic Transfer, Onshore Inter-Bank Transfer (MYR), credit/debit card, and HSBC Singapore account holders (online or over-the-counter)

*Funds must originate from bank accounts held in the same name
Interactive Brokers 4

Bank transfer

*Funds must originate from bank accounts held in the same name

Winner for ‘Ease of Signing Up and Funding’: Saxo Markets

…but not by much. Saxo makes it easier to fund your account with different methods, but making a transfer from your local bank account is fairly easy in Singapore – unless you don’t bank locally.

Fees, Commissions, and Account Minimums

Commissions and platform fees eat into your returns over time, so you’ll want to take note of those before you decide on a platform.

Here’s a quick glance into the commission fees for Saxo vs Interactive Brokers:

Trading Fees by Market

Saxo Markets 5Interactive Brokers 6
Singapore0.03 – 0.08% of trade value, S$1 – 5 minimum 0.02 – 0.08% of trade value, S$0.90 – 2.50 minimum
U.S.0.02 – 0.06% of trade value, US$1 – 4 minimumUS$0.005 per share, US$1 minimum
Hong Kong0.10 – 0.15% of trade value, HK$60 – 90 minimum0.08% of trade value, HK$18 minimum
Japan0.10 – 0.15% of trade value, JPY1,000 – 1,500 minimum0.08% of trade value, JPY80 minimum
London0.05 – 0.10% of trade value, GBP5 – 8 minimum0.10% of trade value, GBP4 minimum

Both brokers offer tiered fees, so you’ll get a greater discount if you’re a high-volume trader. For Saxo, you’ll need to trade at least 200,000 Euros worth of stocks every month to get a bump up to the next highest tier; for Interactive Brokers, it’s at least S$2,500,000.

On the whole though, IBKR’s fees and minimum orders are more competitive than those of Saxo Markets.

Other than trading costs, here are additional fees to watch out for:

Saxo MarketsInteractive Brokers
Monthly account feeS$0 – 145 depending on planNone
Withdrawal feeNone if submitted via Online Cash Withdrawal ModuleOne free withdrawal per calendar month. Charges apply for subsequent withdrawals
Inactivity feeNoneNone
L1/L2 market dataS$5 – 145 (price data tied to tiered plans)Varies depending on market

Winner for ‘Fees, Commissions, and Account Minimums’: Interactive Brokers

Not much of a competition here – it’s hard to beat the discounts IBKR can offer because of the sheer trading volume via their platform. They used to have an inactivity fee, but that has since been eliminated to make their offering more appealing.

Market Access

Both IBKR and Saxo Markets are known for the excellent market access they offer traders. Here’s how they compare in exchange and product availability:

Saxo MarketsInteractive Brokers
Overview60 markets worldwide150 markets worldwide
Forex pairs200+ Forex pairs100+ Forex pairs
Mutual funds
Managed Portfolios
RSP (What’s this?)
Hedge funds 

Winner for ‘Market Access’: Interactive Brokers

IBKR offers better market and product access overall, though Saxo wins in a few categories (like Regular Savings Plans and Forex pairs).

Access to Real-time Data

Both IBKR and Saxo Markets offer free access to delayed market data for all available exchanges. There’s a time lag of about 10-20 minutes, which won’t make much difference if you’re trading small volumes with no leverage – or if you’re using the DCA strategy with a longer time horizon.

But if you’re an active trader using leverage, you may want to consider subscribing to L1/L2 market data.

Interactive Brokers offers this on a per-exchange basis – you can pick the ones you regularly trade and subscribe to only the market data you need. Fees vary depending on the bundle you select.

Saxo Markets offers real-time price data based on their tiered plans. The more you trade (or the higher the tiered plan you purchase), the greater the access you’ll get to market data. 

Winner for ‘Access to Real-time Data’: It’s a Tie

Unlike IBKR, Saxo Markets won’t allow you to purchase L1/L2 data for just the exchanges you want. That said, they waive subscription fees for their tiered plans if you’re trading high enough volumes. The thresholds to qualify for fee waivers are pretty high though (about 5.8mil Euros in trading volume for the highest tiered plan).

User Experience

Beyond its excellent trading tools, Interactive Brokers also has platforms to accommodate different types of traders. The brokerage supports multiple trading interfaces on desktop, web, and mobile.

Their flagship Trader Workstation is a powerful platform complete with technical analysis tools, market analysis, research, and news.

But with all its functionality, Desktop Trader Workstation can be intimidating to newer investors. Plus, the steep learning curve can be overwhelming at first.

For the less experienced, there’s also the Client Portal – it’s less intimidating but still well-designed. This gives you a real-time view of your account and allows you to place basic trades. You can trade the same asset classes on any platform.

Saxo Markets has a user-friendly interface and provides a universal platform experience across devices. Its flagship SaxoTraderPRO is more ideal for advanced traders, while its web-based platform SaxoInvestor is more beginner-friendly yet has all the necessary trading functions.

Winner for ‘User Experience’: Saxo Markets

While both try to cater to a wide range of investors, Saxo Markets seems to offer a friendlier user experience overall.

Overall Winner: Interactive Brokers

Saxo MarketsInteractive Brokers
Trustworthiness & safety★★★★★★★★★★
Ease of signing up and funding★★★★★★★★★☆
Fees, commissions, account minimums★★★★☆★★★★★
Markets available★★★★☆★★★★★
Access to real-time data★★★☆☆★★★★☆
User experience★★★★★★★★★☆