Choosing a broker is an important step when investing. There are many different options available, so picking the right one for you is challenging. We compare investing in ETFs through LYNX and MEXEM, two brokers available to Belgian investors. The goal of this article is to help you find out which broker is best for you for investing in ETFs. We’ll compare the brokers based on their fees, convenience, the ease of setting up an account and importantly the safety of your assets.

The overview

The table shows an overview of how LYNX compares to MEXEM for different criteria. Read on to get the full details!

LYNX

✅ Pros of LYNX ❌ Cons of LYNX
Transparent fees Not the cheapest
Large selection of ETFs Targeted for traders
Fractional shares Not easy for beginners
No savings plans

Story of LYNX 🇳🇱

LYNX is focused on catering to traders.

LYNX was launched in 2006 in Amsterdam. It's grown to over 300 employees and has offices spread out across ten countries. They formed an initial and crucial partnership with Interactive Brokers which allows them to offer a variety of investment choices. In a similar vein, MEXEM also benefits from a partnership like this. LYNX has over 60,000 customers and they provide a variety of access to different exchanges and all types of securities.

Fees for ETFs

LYNX isn't the cheapest broker on the market. For instance, it costs €6.00 when buying €1,000 of the popular ETF IWDA by iShares.

Convenience

Savings plan ❌ No
Fractional shares ✅ Yes
Customer support ✅ FAQ, email, phone, chat
🇧🇪 TOB ✅ LYNX handles it
🇧🇪 Dividend tax ❌ LYNX doesn't handle it fully
🇧🇪 Reynders tax ❌ LYNX doesn't handle it
🇧🇪 Declare your account to the NBB ❌ You have to do it yourself

LYNX does not provide automated savings plans, requiring manual account funding and trade execution, but it does offer fractional shares for strategies like euro-cost averaging. Their customer service is responsive and helpful, with quick email responses and local phone support. LYNX assists with transaction taxes on securities and some dividend taxes but does not withhold the Reynders tax on ETF profits, and users must declare their accounts to the National Bank of Belgium.

Setting up an account

🕰️ Time to open an account ❌ 2 to 4 days
🙋 itsme ❌ No
📱 Mobile app ✅ Yes
💻 Web app ✅ Yes
🙂 Ease of use ⭐ 3/5
🧒 Children accounts ❌ No
💑 Joint accounts ✅ Yes
💼 Business accounts ✅ Yes

Opening an account with LYNX, though possible through their app, is more user-friendly via computer. The account verification takes between 2 to 4 business days, and a minimum deposit of €3,000 is required. LYNX supports joint accounts but not children accounts; business accounts are available with a minimum €20,000 deposit.

Safety

Regulator AFM (Netherlands)
Past issues with the regulator ✅ No
Protection of financial assets €20,000
Cash safeguarded by deposit guarantee €100,000
Securities lending ❌ Yes (opt-in)
Payment for order flow ✅ No

LYNX is regulated by the AFM in the Netherlands, has not had any known issues with regulators. While LYNX participates in securities lending through its opt-in "Stock Yield Enhancement Programme," they do not engage in payment for order flow (PFOF), a practice common among many brokers like Trade Republic.

The full review

Read our review to get a full breakdown of LYNX's pros and cons.

MEXEM

Story of MEXEM 🇨🇾

MEXEM has a strong focus on traders.

MEXEM was launched in 2018 and grew across Europe quite rapidly as a fast growing broker. Like LYNX, they formed an initial and crucial partnership with Interactive Brokers which allows them to offer a variety of investment choices.

Fees for ETFs

MEXEM is one of the cheapest options for European investors. For instance, buying €1,000 of the popular ETF IWDA by iShares, that tracks the MSCI World index, would cost only €2.40. This makes it an attractive proposition for putting your savings to work.

Convenience

Savings plan ✅ Yes
Fractional shares ✅ Yes
Customer support ✅ FAQ, chat, email, Whatsapp
🇧🇪 TOB ✅ MEXEM handles it
🇧🇪 Dividend tax ❌ MEXEM doesn't handle it
🇧🇪 Reynders tax ❌ MEXEM doesn't handle it
🇧🇪 Declare your account to the NBB ❌ You have to do it yourself

MEXEM targets experienced traders, offers a range of complex order types but allows for fractional shares for euro-cost averaging strategies. While it excels in customer support, including WhatsApp, it requires investors to manually handle tax reports and declarations. MEXEM manages the stock transaction tax (TOB) but does not assist with dividend or Reynders taxes on ETF profits, and requires investors to declare their accounts to the National Bank of Belgium annually.

Setting up an account

🕰️ Time to open an account ✅ Within a day
🙋 itsme ❌ No
📱 Mobile app ✅ Yes
💻 Web app ✅ Yes
🙂 Ease of use ⭐ 3/5
🧒 Children accounts ❌ No
💑 Joint accounts ✅ Yes
💼 Business accounts ✅ Yes

MEXEM offer fast account openings and you should have your account set up within a day. A major drawback is that MEXEM doesn't use itsme. This means you'll have to get your ID card or passport out for identification. They don't support children accounts but you can create a joint account with your partner. You can also create an account for your company.

Safety

Regulator CySEC (Cyprus)
Past issues with the regulator ✅ No
Protection of financial assets €20,000
Cash safeguarded by deposit guarantee €100,000
Securities lending ❌ Yes (opt-in)
Payment for order flow ✅ No

Although MEXEM does participate in securities lending, it's entirely up to you whether you opt-in for the service. We found that MEXEM is quite transparent as a broker when it comes to this. Note that MEXEM is under the supervision of the CySEC which is the Cypriot regulator.

The full review

Discover all the pros and cons in our review of MEXEM.

Curvo: easier than a broker

Brokers push you to trade and to pick individual companies to invest in. Rather than picking individual stocks such as Amazon or Tesla, index funds are a way to buy the whole market, across all sectors and regions of the world. Essentially, you own a small portion of thousands of companies throughout the world. Instead of betting on a particular company, you are placing a bet on the global economy.

Rather than having to pick the right stocks or ETFs among the thousands available through LYNX or MEXEM, you invest in a portfolio that is tailored to you and your goals. These portfolios are composed of globally diversified index funds, meaning you earn a piece of the growth of the global economy, and they're best suited to make the most of your savings long term. And they're secure, as they're managed by NNEK, a Dutch investment firm under supervision of the regulator in the Netherlands (AFM).

How Curvo works
Investing through Curvo is an easy way to invest well in Belgium. All portfolios are managed by NNEK, a Dutch investment firm licensed with the AFM.

We believe that investing is an important tool for our generation to improve our financial well-being and to prepare for our future. We are building Curvo to fulfil that vision, by making good investing easy and accessible to all:

  • Diversified portfolio set up for you: The best portfolio for you is built by NNEK based on your time horizon and financial goals. Simply answer a short questionnaire and you’ll get everything set up for you.
  • Automated savings plans: Through Curvo’s app you can set up a monthly contribution from €50. That means that money is automatically invested for you in your portfolio. Put your savings on autopilot!
  • Fractional shares: All the money you send towards your portfolio is fully invested by NNEK. No cash is left on the side.
  • No TOB 🇧🇪 : Significant savings as the portfolios aren’t liable for the Belgian transaction tax (or "TOB"). This saves you between 0.12% and 1.32% for every time you buy or sell!
  • Sustainable investments: Your investments focus on one guiding principle: don’t invest in companies that are considered destructive to the planet. This means that sectors like non-renewable energy, vice products, weapons and controversial companies are all excluded.
  • Project yourself into the future: Through Curvo you can see how much your portfolio is expected to be worth in the future. You can answer questions like “how will increasing my monthly contribution by €50, €100 or €200 affect my long-term savings?” to give a concrete idea for the “future you”.

Learn more on how it compares to investing through a broker.

Summary

In this article we highlighted the key differences between LYNX and MEXEM, two brokers accessible to Belgians. Essentially they both benefit from a partnership with Interactive Brokers. However they slightly differ when it comes to fees. MEXEM is more cost-effective than LYNX if you invest in ETFs. But cost is not the only factor to take in consideration when you’re putting your savings to work. For instance, you should also take into account the ease of use of the app, or the difficulty of investing your savings on a monthly basis. We hope this comparison has helped you make a decision in choosing the best broker that suits you and your goals.