Lightspeed is an online broker that offer trading stocks, futures, options, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for retail and institutional traders. They provide an electronic trading platform to trade financial assets with competitive fees.
In addition to this, they offer a range of trading tools, margin lending accounts and money management services. The minimum required to trade with Lightspeed is a lot more than most online brokers ($10,000), thus they are likely to be more suited to active professional traders.
Founded in 2010 in the United States and headquartered in New York city, Lightspeed brokerage is catered towards the more frequent day traders with a choice of multiple trading platforms to choose from including the proprietary Lightspeed Trader and LivevolX platforms. They also offer platforms that have a monthly subscription fee, Eze EMS (formerly RealTick) and Sterling Trader Pro. They send orders to over 100 order routing destinations through multi-threaded servers.
In May of 2018, Lightspeed Trading merged with Lime Brokerage and efutures. The brokerage continued to operate under the name Lightspeed Trading, owned by Limelight Holdings LLC.
Pros / Cons
- Strict regulation
- Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)
- Wide choice of trading platforms
- Advanced trading tools
- Minimum $10,000 deposit
- No forex, CFD or crypto trading
- No MetaTrader platform
- Restricted leverage
- No online payment processors
Lightspeed brokerage is a division of Lime Brokerage, a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) scheme in the United States.
FINRA enables investors and firms to participate in the market with confidence by safeguarding its integrity. It is a non-governmental organization that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets.
The SIPC is an investor protection scheme established in order to protect clients against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker cannot fulfil their financial obligations. The SIPC protection is limited to $500,000 with a $250,000 limit for cash.
In addition to the SIPC coverage, Lightspeed’s clearing agent Wedbush also provides an excess SIPC bond that grants additional coverage for up to $25,000,000 in cash and securities for each client account carried by Wedbush on behalf of Lightspeed, subject to an aggregate loss limit of $100,000,000. This bond covers cash credit balances to a maximum of $900,000 for a total of $1,150,000 in cash balances.
Lightspeed is a US online brokerage that can accept clients internationally.
Lightspeed Trading Platforms
Lightspeed offer traders a range of powerful and intuitive trading platforms to help them achieve their goals. The robust software is highly customizable, allowing traders to see key information in real time with low latency. They are continuously developing and improving the platforms based on client feedback.
There are five primary trading platforms to choose, each platform coming with its own unique benefits. All of the platforms allow clients to trade options and equities.
Whether you are an active or professional trader, institution or hedge fund, you can opt for the platform that is most suited to your needs. Lightspeed offer free demo account for each platform so you can trial them all before making your choice if you are undecided.
Lightspeed Trader is the flagship trading platform and preferred solution for day traders. Traders of all experience levels can easily design and customize layouts and rules to best fit their trading style. Keyboard traders and point and click traders are covered with fully customizable home screens and Lightspeed Trade Reporting.
Lightspeed Trader Features Include:
- Fully customisable platform
- Support for complex options trading
- Integrated charting with technical analysis capabilities
- Multi-threading for hyper-speed
- Range of advanced scanners and filters to choose from
Lightspeed Web/Mobile Trader
This platform is suitable for traders who prefer web or mobile trading platforms for conveniently trading whilst on the go from Android and iOS compatible devices, provided you have an internet connection. It is designed to look, feel, and function in a similar way to the downloadable platforms. There are no monthly software or market data fees.
Lightspeed Web/Mobile Trader Features Include:
- Access your account portfolio whilst on the go
- Real time streaming quotes
- Real Time Level 1 data including Dow Jones Indexes for all listed exchanges and ECNs
- Option chains
- Quick trade linking from quote screens
- Multiple order types
- Access to advanced market data including charting and analytical tools
- Create watch lists
- Get the latest market news and research
- Orders executed on mobile update dynamically in all platforms
Lime Trading Gateway
The Lime Trading Gateway is for experienced automated traders who require direct market access with superior liquidity. It offers access for low latency trading via a C++ or JAVA API and FIX. It is developed to handle demanding applications with reliability whilst being affordable. It includes market data and trading platforms that allow clients to trade efficiently and anonymously across all major lit and dark market venues.
Lime Trading Gateway Features Include:
- Optimal Trading Server
- Superior Market Data
- Smart Execution
- Network Co-Location and Proximity Hosting
- Correspondent Clearing Services
- Comprehensive Pre-Trade Risk System
- Automated Batch Locate Process
- Lime Smart Router
- Lime’s Benchmark Algorithms
Sterling Trader Pro is a full-featured Level II trading platform that has been designed specifically with professional traders in mind. The terminal includes advanced pinpoint accuracy for order routing and management and real-time profit/loss capabilities, making it particularly suitable for trading groups.
Sterling Trader Pro Features Include:
- Advanced charting package
- Fully customizable level II order entry system
- Programmable keys and load order entry features for instantaneous action
- Window linking and customization
- Real time profit and loss details
- Advanced pinpoint accuracy and smart destination preferences for order routing and management
- Full control over system components for fastest access to markets and exchanges
- API available for connection with custom and third-party applications
Livevol X Options Trading
Livevol X is the next-generation execution platform that combines the intelligence of Livevol Pro with advanced options trading capabilities and sophisticated risk analytics. LVX has a range of unique features that can be used for identifying potential trading opportunities and developing trading strategies.
Livevol X Options Trading Features Include:
- Order Execution
- Risk, Position & Trade Analysis
- Brokerage Account Info
- Build and Save Layouts
- Analytics with Historical Data
- Live Order Flow Information
- Option Market Scanners
- Option Analytics Components
Eze EMS (formerly RealTick) Pro and Express
Eze EMS was created by Townsend Analytics and is suited to active traders, registered investment advisors (RIAs), and hedge funds. It delivers powerful trading tools, access to a vast amount of liquidity, real-time data, charting, analytics and real time streaming news. Lightspeed offer two versions of Eze EMS to meet different trader needs.
Eze EMS (formerly RealTick) Pro
Full featured trading software for professional traders.
- Advanced order entry and trading with real-time global data
- Trade allocations and multi-account access for RIAs and hedge funds
- Multi-asset, trade equities, options and futures from one login
- Completely customizable user interface
- Hotkeys and hot buttons
- MarketMinder™ quote display, hundreds of available fields
- Advanced time and sales
- Sophisticated charting with studies
- Streaming news and fundamental research
- API and order scripting
- Hottrend stock scanner
- Custom tickers
- Mobile application options from tablet or smart phone
- $325 monthly software fee
- $25,000 minimum funding requirement
Eze EMS (formerly RealTick) Express
A value-oriented alternative to the full featured Pro version.
- Customisable display of full market depth, time & sales, limited to 4 level 2 windows Conditional orders, Bracket Orders, OCO, and more
- Advanced charts and scanning tools. Watchlists with up to 100 symbols Hot-Key Order Entry
- $125 monthly software fee
- $25,000 minimum funding requirement
- Real-time global market data
- Integrated add-ons
Derivix gives traders an all-in-one solution for pricing & analytics, portfolio risk management and multi-broker electronic execution for equities and derivatives markets.
SILEXX OEMS is a multi-asset class trading platform that provides streamlined execution, real-time analytics, and comprehensive risk management.
Wex’s options functionality gives options traders the tools they need for efficient options trading.
The efutures platform gives futures traders a platform full with features that is powered by CQG to help them execute trades in a prompt manner.
Lightspeed Trading Tools & Education
In addition to the fast and reliable trading technology that Lightspeed offer, they also provide free trading tutorials, webinars, news updates and other educational materials to help you increase your trading knowledge and skills. There are risk management tools and research tools to assist with conducting in-depth market analysis.
Lightspeed Trading Instruments
Lightspeed have a good selection of stocks, futures, options, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for retail and institutional traders to choose from. However, they do not offer forex, CFD or cryptocurrency trading.
The Lightspeed trading fees are very competitive compared to other online brokerages with tiered pricing that depends on the clients trading volume. Rates can go as low as $0.001 per share for those who have a significant trading volume of at least 250,000 shares per month.
- Equities: $0.0045 per share or $0.0010 (if more than 15,000,000 shares per month)
- Options: $0.60 per contract or $0.20 (if more than 100,000 contracts per month)
- Futures: $1.29 per side
- Futures Options: $1.79 per contract
Lightspeed Trading Accounts & Fees
Lightspeed have a variety of different account types to suit each individual traders requirements. Clients can conduct all of their trading from a single Lightspeed account, whether you are trading equities or options, trading to multiple destinations, or trading for multiple funds. Minimum account balances start from $10,000 on the web trader platform which is a lot more than most online brokers.
There are accounts for new and experienced traders. All accounts gain access to the risk management tools, competitive commission rates and dedicated customer service. Before choosing account you will need to determine if you are a professional or non-professional trader. It could be argued that the account types are over complicated for those who are just looking for a standard trading account.
Active Trade Account Types:
- Regulation T Margin Account: Up to 50% margin on the purchase price of securities
- Portfolio Margin Account: Qualified customers can increase their leverage above the 4 to 1 intraday or 2 to 1 overnight margin available in a standard margin account
- Separately Managed Account (SMA): For clients who have specific needs and require customised solutions
- DVP/RVP: Delivery versus Payment, or Receipt versus Payment
- CMTA AGREEMENTS: An agreement by which an investor may enter derivative trades with a limited number of different brokers and later consolidate these trades with one brokerage house for clearing
- Individual Accounts
- Joint Accounts
- Corporate Accounts
- LLC Accounts
- Partnership Accounts
- Trust Accounts
- Retirement Accounts
As fees can vary and change, there may be additional fees that are not listed here in this Lightspeed broker review. It is imperative to ensure that you check on the official Lightspeed website all of the latest fees and are completely clear about all of the charges before opening a brokerage account with any online broker.
Please note the following minimum funding requirements for new accounts:
- $25,000 if using the Lightspeed Trader, Eze EMS (formerly RealTick) or Sterling Trader platform
- $10,000 if using the Web Trader platform
- $175,000 for a Portfolio Margin Account
- $25,000 if using Livevol X platform
- $110,000 for a Portfolio Margin Account using Livevol X
Lightspeed Customer Service
Lightspeed offer a personalised levels of customer support via telephone and email during normal market hours. The friendly support team are on hand to answer all general, technical and account questions in a prompt and efficient manner. Lightspeed state that they take great pride in the quick and personal level of support that is given to every client by the experienced customer relations staff.
Unfortunately, they do not currently offer online web chat support which some users would find more convenient.
Lightspeed Deposit & Withdrawal
Lightspeed offer funding via wire transfer, check and ACH. Accounts initially funded by check or ACH are subject to a 5-business day hold. They do not accept third-party checks or wires.
There is no charge for ACH transfers which can take up to 2 days to complete. Withdrawal requests received by 2:30PM EST are processed same business day. Wire transfers are permitted between like-named accounts. Wire transfers are usually received by the bank on the same business day and there is a $20 fee for domestic wires and a $50 fee for international wires.
It would be advantageous if the broker offered online payment processors such as PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, etc.
Lightspeed Account Opening
You can click the “open account” button located throughout the Lightspeed website to start the application process. You will need to choose your required account type, submit personal information, read and agree to the terms and conditions if you are happy with them. During the account opening process you will need some documents at hand to verify your identity and address.
It can take a few days for the account application to be reviewed and approved. The accounts team will contact you if they require any additional information. New clients who open an account with Lightspeed will be able to start trading within 24 hours after the account is funded by wire transfer.
This online trading broker has 2-step verification for an added layer of security and protection to clients account and fund transfers. They send one-time-use pass codes to your mobile device for authenticating actions.
Lightspeed brokerage offers a wide variety of powerful trading platforms and advanced trading tools. They charge competitive fees with a range of different account types to choose from. However, the minimum deposit required is high compared to other online brokers at $10,000 and funding options are also limited. Furthermore, they do not offer forex, CFD or cryptocurrency trading.
Trading complex instruments can come with a high risk. You should consider whether you understand how investments and trading work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing all of your money.