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Trading Stocks on the Bern Stock Exchange (BX Swiss)

Find clear information about the BX Swiss stock exchange, what securities are traded and which brokers trade on the exchange.

In addition to Switzerland's primary stock exchange (the SIX Swiss Exchange), Switzerland is also home to the lesser-known BX Swiss stock exchange in Bern.

The BX Swiss primarily lists Swiss mid-sized corporations for which the exchange provides an affordable alternative to listing on the SIX Swiss exchange. In addition to the stocks of companies which are only listed on the BX Swiss, the BX Swiss also hosts secondary listings of stocks listed on SIX Swiss Exchange.

Trade foreign shares in Swiss Francs

Since November 2013, foreign securities listed on the BX Swiss have been denominated by the Swiss franc rather than their corresponding foreign currencies. This allows investors to invest in foreign securities in Swiss francs and thus bypass currency exchange costs. This feature is unique to the BX Swiss and is made possible through the exchange's partnership with the German Baader Bank.

Over 1000 stocks from 30 countries listed

Altogether, over 1000 stocks originating from over 30 countries can be traded in this way between 9:00am and 5:30pm Swiss time. Major foreign stocks which are listed on the exchange include Apple, Adidas, Amazon, Sony and H&M. The exchange also lists numerous investment funds and derivatives.

Transparent costs

Fees on the BX Swiss are always listed in Swiss francs. A stock exchange fee equal to 0.01% of each transaction or 10 francs (whichever is greater) applies to trades on the exchange. The maximum exchange fee is 50 francs per transaction. This fee applies in addition to the brokerage fees charged by your broker.

Local vs. international brokerage fees

Because foreign securities listed on the exchange are denominated by Swiss francs, Swiss brokers charge the lower brokerage fees applicable to Swiss securities, rather than the higher brokerage fees applicable to foreign securities. Brokers also do not charge foreign currency conversion fees and spreads because transactions are entirely in Swiss francs. The BX Swiss handles currency exchanges, and currency exchange charges are factored into exchange fees.

Depending on the broker you use, brokerage fees charged for trades on the BX Swiss exchange may not always match those used on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

For example, (Berner Kantonalbank) charges a brokerage fee equal to 0.24% (minimum CHF 50) for trades on the BX Swiss. Fees for trades on the SIX Swiss Exchange with the same broker range between 8 and 348 francs, depending on the value of the transaction.

So the brokerage fee charged by this broker for a 10,000-franc trade on BX Swiss would be 50 francs, compared to 38 francs for a 10,000-franc trade on the SIX Swiss Exchange. A 40,000-franc trade on the BX Swiss would cost around 96 francs in brokerage fees, compared to 108 francs for a 40,000-franc trade on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

As this example shows, the brokerage fees for trading on the BX Swiss may be higher or lower than those applicable to trades on the SIX Swiss Exchange, depending on which broker you use. Some brokers (like Swissquote) charge the same brokerage fees for trades on the BX Swiss that they charge for trades on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Important: When calculating the costs of trades, it is important to account for the BX Swiss exchange fees (0.01% minimum 10 francs per transaction, maximum 50 francs per transaction) and for stamp duties in addition to brokerage fees.

Pros and cons of BX Swiss

A possible disadvantage of trading on the BX Swiss is that many of the stocks listed are secondary listings. Primary listings typically offer greater market liquidity. For example, the NASDAQ will likely provide greater liquidity to traders in Apple shares because that is the primary listing of Apple Inc.

A possible advantage of trading on the BX Swiss: Depending on the scale and value of transactions (and on which broker is used), trading foreign shares in Swiss francs on the BX Swiss may prove cheaper than transacting the same trade in a foreign currency.

Brokers which trade on the BX Swiss

Not all Swiss brokers trade on the BX Swiss. Swiss banks and brokers which trade on the Berne exchange are: Swissquote; Berner Kantonalbank (including; Zürcher Kantonalbank; Credit Suisse; Bank Julius Bär; and Bank Vontobel.

Other brokers may help you purchase securities on the BX Swiss indirectly. This will normally have to be done through a bank employee in person or by phone, which may incur additional costs.

If you hold your capital in Swiss francs and use a broker which trades on the BX Swiss, you may be able to cut costs by trading foreign equities on the BX Swiss rather than on foreign exchanges. You can find the ISINs of securities and derivatives traded on the BX Swiss listed on the BX Swiss website.

More information:
Interactive Swiss stock broker comparison

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The magazine provides accurate, unbiased information on topics related to finance and money. In addition to research and expert interviews, the magazine contains numerous financial guides.