Choosing a broker is an important step when starting to invest. There are many different options available, so picking the right one for you is challenging. We take a closer look at MEXEM, a Cyprus-based broker. We'll look at the pros and cons, the fees, convenience of setting up an account and safety. By the end, you'll be able to decide if MEXEM is a right broker for you to invest your savings, or if another broker suits you better.
Pros and cons of using MEXEM
The story of MEXEM
MEXEM was launched in 2018 and grew across Europe quite rapidly as a fast growing broker. They formed an initial and crucial partnership with Interactive Brokers which allows them to offer a variety of investment choices. The broker LYNX also benefits from a partnership like this.
The company has recently grown in Asia and the Middle East. In Europe, they fall under the scrutiny of CySEC which is the Cypriot regulator and offer some of the lowest fees for investors.
What makes MEXEM unique is that they have local offices in many of the markets where they operate in order to better serve local clients.
Let's take a look at their offer.
It's free to create an account. Also, there's no membership fee. So in most cases, you'll only pay a transaction fee for whenever you buy or sell something.
MEXEM have quite a standard fee structure which is based on a low commission for each purchase. Let's take a closer look at the pricing:
External transfer costs are free
MEXEM doesn't charge fees to transfer funds away. This is a bonus compared to many other brokers.
However, note that as a European investor, you're only able to withdraw once every 30 days, otherwise you'll pay €1 fee per withdrawal if you use SEPA. The price is €8 for using a standard bank transfer.
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 of MEXEM
MEXEM supports 100+ different types of orders. You can run complicated orders like limit, market, stop, stop limit, market if touched, limit if touched, trail, relative, etc... This means it's a powerful broker, but it also makes it a lot more complex in use. It's clear that MEXEM targets the experienced trader rather than the beginning investor. One other feature which is similar to eToro is that it offers a "Copy Trader" feature where you can mimic popular investors on their platform.
Automated savings plans
MEXEM supports automation through a recurring investment plan. The caveat is that you have to define the investment yourself including the portfolio.
A popular investment strategy is euro-cost averaging, where you invest periodically instead of investing large lump sums in one go. You invest at fixed times, for instance every month, regardless of how the markets are performing. Most people are paid monthly, so it makes sense for their investments to follow the same pattern. A big benefit of using MEXEM is that you're able to buy fractions of shares. This means you can buy parts of an expensive ETF or stock. This is useful if you have lower amounts to invest periodically.
MEXEM has really solid customer support. As they have local offices in each country where they've launched, they can personalise a lot of answers to the questions you may have. They also offer a phone service which makes it easy to reach out to. They have been helpful in responding to us promptly to our queries. They also have a chat option directly via WhatsApp. This makes sure you can get your questions answered rapidly and the only broker we've seen use WhatsApp so far.
🇮🇹 Declaratory regime
As an Italian investor, you'll receive an annual tax report from MEXEM. You'll have to manually take that date and input it into your tax reports. You'll have to declare your income, capital gains as well as the IVAFE (wealth tax).
Note that you'll have to complete this manually as MEXEM puts the burden on you as an investor and they have previously made errors in their tax reports.
🇧🇪 TOB ("beurstaks" / "taxe boursière")
There’s a tax on the transaction every time you buy or sell a security in Belgium. The rules concerning the tax rate are complicated, also for ETFs. Depending on the characteristics of the ETF, the transaction tax varies between 0.12% and 1.32%.
Fortunately MEXEM helps you with this and handles it for you.
🇧🇪 Dividend tax
MEXEM does not help you with the dividend tax. In Belgium, any dividend you perceive is taxed at 30%. Accumulating funds, which directly reinvest dividends, are a way around this tax. On the other hand, distributing funds distribute their dividends, which means they're taxable.
Unfortunately, MEXEM doesn't withhold this tax for you. So be careful in your choice of funds if you want to avoid paying the dividend tax or even having to declaring it every year in your tax form.
🇧🇪 Reynders tax
For ETFs that consist of at least 10% bonds, there is a 30% tax on the profits made when selling. For example, if you bought a bond ETF at €100 and end up selling it later for €130, your net profit will only be €21. The other €9 will go to the Belgian state through this tax.
Unfortunately MEXEM doesn't withhold this tax for you. You will have to calculate and declare it yourself.
🇧🇪 Does MEXEM require declaring the account to the NBB?
Yes, as MEXEM is a non-Belgian broker so you have to declare your account to the National Bank of Belgium as well as on your tax returns every year.
Setting up an account
Let's dig into the details of setting up your MEXEM account for the first-time.
Time to open an account
As they have so many customers on their platform, it's quite a smooth process to create your investment account on MEXEM. You'll need a valid ID or Passport. You'll also need a proof of address to show you're a tax resident where you're opening the account from. When we signed up, it took about a day to be approved and for us to start investing.
Create an account on the web and mobile
You can choose to create an account through either the web or mobile. Both options are well built and relatively easy to get set up.
Ease of use: 3/5
As it's purely a trading app, MEXEM shows a lot of details that aren't very relevant to most investors, especially for buy-and-hold index investors. This makes the mobile experience can get quite clunky and fairly difficult to find the information you need to make an investment decision. On the web version, there are far too many options for investors on the beginning of their journey. However, for the more knowledgable investors, the tools MEXEM offers are really helpful to provide you the analysis you're seeking. That's why we've rated it a 3 out of 5!
Children accounts and joint accounts
Yes, you're able to set up a joint account using MEXEM. You can't create an account for your children so all investments have to be in your name. Note that you're able to create business accounts on MEXEM.
Is MEXEM safe?
Who is the regulator?
MEXEM is headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus. Therefore it's under the supervision of the Cypriot regulator, the CySEC.
Have they had any issues with the regulator?
Based on our research, we can't find any information that MEXEM has had any issues with any regulator.
How much of your assets are protected by the investor protection scheme?
Your assets are protected by the standard €20,000 European investor protection scheme as they are based in Cyprus and in the EU.
Is your cash protected by the deposit guarantee scheme?
Yes, your money is protected by the Cypriot €100,000 deposit guarantee scheme.
Does MEXEM do securities lending?
MEXEM does participate in securities lending. If you own stocks that are in demand in the securities lending market, MEXEM will borrow these stocks, deposit collateral into your account, and then lend the shares out. However, you have to opt-in for this service and you can find all the details on their website. We found that MEXEM is one of the most transparent brokers when it comes to this (in comparison to BUX or DEGIRO).
Does MEXEM do payment for order flow?
No, they do not do payment for order flow (PFOF). It is an important source of revenue for many new brokers, including another German provider Trade Republic. This practice involves routing your orders to certain market makers, who then pay the broker for the right of executing these orders. PFOF can work at your detriment, as brokers may prioritise payment over executing the best possible trade for you.
We have also compared MEXEM with other brokers if you want to dig deeper:
The easier way: Curvo
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 a broker like 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).
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.
MEXEM is clearly one of the most cost-effective way of investing your savings in Europe. Their platform is very suited for traders and can be overwhelming for first-time investors. Cost is not the only factor to take in consideration when you’re putting your savings to work. Especially when you consider that you may have to handle a lot of tax declarations yourself which is an extra administrative burden you may not want to spend time on.
Questions you may have
How reliable is MEXEM?
Very reliable. If you're a European using their service, MEXEM is regulated by the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC) which means you are protected by the European Investor Protection Scheme up to €20,000. MEXEM has a good reputation in the industry.