Richard Montana | June 21, 2022
Lightspeed is a US brokerage firm that lets you trade stocks, options and futures via advanced trading platforms. They have a collection of superb tools for advanced market research and professional analysis to help make informed decisions. I found the trading conditions to be very competitive, with quick execution speeds and good customer support. However, there are quite a few fees to consider which may deter new investors. Although I don’t have any problem with them when you consider the excellent platforms and tools that you get access to. The minimum deposit required is quite high at $10,000 which may be unattainable to potential clients. There are other brokers who require a much smaller deposit, such as Firstrade who let you get started with $1. That being said, they could be a great choice for professional and institutional traders who are looking to take advantage of the latest trading technologies in a regulated environment. If you are unsure and not ready to make a commitment, you can open a demo account to try out the brokers full range of impressive products, trading tools, and features.
Pros / Cons
- Powerful trading platforms built for performance and speed
- Superb choice of trading platforms for all types of trader
- Excellent range of high-quality trading tools
- Advanced risk management tools
- More than 100 order routing destinations
- Executions are extremely fast
- Good selection of guides and videos
- Top class FIX API connectivity
- Discounted commissions for active traders
- Stay up to date on the latest news and market updates
- One-on-one support
- Minimum $10,000 deposit not the lowest
- Do not support forex trading
- No online payment processors
- Maybe overwhelming for beginners
Lightspeed is an online broker where you can trade and invest in stocks, futures, options, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They provide an electronic trading platform for retail and institutional traders to trade financial assets with competitive fees. In addition to this, they offer a good 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 powerful 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 amongst others we will discuss later. Lightspeed was built by traders for traders, and therefore they understand traders’ needs and work hard to exceed their expectations.
The broker does a great job of combining technology, data and people to deliver highly personalized solutions. They can help you manage anything from several traders and a few positions to large trading groups and hundreds or thousands of positions. They send orders to over 100 order routing destinations through multi-threaded servers. I think the conditions are suitable for retail and institutional traders such as hedge funds and high frequency traders (HFT) who want access to a plethora of advanced platforms and tools to enhance their trading strategies.
When it comes to choosing a broker, one of the most important things I look for is regulation. I would always prefer to use a regulated broker as they must follow certain rules and procedures that are put in place to protect investors. Equities, equities options, and commodity futures products and services are offered by Lightspeed Financial Services Group LLC (Member FINRA, NFA and SIPC). I personally consider this top tier regulation and would therefore have no problem trusting the broker for my day trading activities.
FINRA enables investors and firms to participate in the market with confidence by safeguarding its integrity. It is a non-governmental organisation that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets. The SIPC is an investor protection scheme established in order to protect eligible 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.
Lightspeed is a US online brokerage that can accept clients internationally. If you find that they cannot accept users from your country for whatever reason, please feel free to browse our broker reviews for an alternative option.
Lightspeed offer traders a range of powerful and intuitive trading platforms to help them achieve their goals. The robust software is highly customisable, allowing traders to see key information in real time with low latency. 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. They are continuously developing and improving the platforms based on client feedback.
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. I like the desktop platform for when I need to conduct in-depth market analysis using a combination of technical indicators. The web platform is useful for when you need to access your account from different devices without installing any software.
They have probably the best selection of speciality trading platforms that I have come across, along with Rosenthal Collins Group. The broker has partnered with some of the most well-known technology providers in the industry to ensure you have access to the right tools to help you succeed.
Lightspeed Trader is the flagship trading platform and preferred solution for professional and active stocks and options traders with over 100 order routing destinations. Traders of all experience levels can easily design and customise layouts and rules to best fit their trading style. Keyboard traders and point and click traders are covered with fully customisable home screens and Lightspeed Trade Reporting.
Custom orders can be made via pre-configured settings, enabling you to make decisions based on order types, routes, share size, offsets, and much more. You can also increase trade efficiency with Hot Keys, quickly locate hard-to-borrow stocks, develop advanced strategy routes, and automate order entry via API functionality.
This powerful multi-asset platform also facilitates complex options order forms for multi-leg strategies. Traders of all experience levels can quickly and easily set up and view option risk graphs and option watchlists. The options scanner feature lets you view the most active options, options with unusual volume, or underliers in real-time.
I like how you can personalize almost every aspect of the trading platform. Choose from predefined layouts or customize the screens to meet your functional needs and aesthetic preferences. Set up watchlists, map orders to Hot Keys for fast order entry, and create custom orders to meet your individual needs.
Lightspeed Trader includes several customizable risk-based settings, including setting daily max loss limits, per order share size limits, max position size, and value limits. The platform also incorporates an SRM Risk tool that gives you additional insights into margin requirements, trade scenarios, risk shock parameters, etc.
You can quickly and easily view daily, monthly, and yearly reports with a button or analyze the market and your performance over a specific, customized time range. A trader blotter is available for export to Tradervue or other programs for trade analysis or tax reporting. You can also view institutional reports via Nirvana if you have a qualifying PM account.
Some of the key Lightspeed Trader features include the following:
- Fully customisable platform
- Support for complex options trading
- Integrated charting with technical analysis capabilities
- Multi-threading for hyper-speed trading
- Good range of advanced scanners and filters to choose from
Lightspeed Web/Mobile Trader
Lightspeed Web provides users with streaming real-time data and offers fast and easy-to-use order entry and execution to meet the needs of savvy traders. You can trade stocks and options on the go from a single screen for a seamless trading experience. 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. It is easy to navigate and still has plenty of tools for analysing the markets and managing your positions with relative ease. There are no monthly software or market data fees.
Some of the key Lightspeed Web/Mobile Trader features include the following:
- Quickly access your account portfolio whilst on the go
- Free 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 to choose from
- Access to advanced market data including charting and analytical tools
- Create your very own watch lists
- Easily 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.
Some of the key Lime Trading Gateway features include the following:
- 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 provides powerful options trading tools required by professional options traders worldwide, including single-leg and complex options order functionality.
Some of the key Sterling Trader Pro features include the following:
- Advanced charting package
- Fully customisable level II order entry system
- Programmable keys and load order entry features for instantaneous action
- Window linking and customisation
- 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
Sterling Vol Trader
Sterling Vol Trader is the next generation execution platform that combines the intelligence of Sterling Vol Trader with advanced options trading capabilities and sophisticated risk analytics.
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.
Some of the key Livevol X Options Trading features include the following:
- 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 Pro
Eze EMS (formerly RealTick) 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.
- 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
Eze EMS Express
Eze EMS Express can trade equities, options, and futures using hotkeys and is a value-oriented alternative to Eze EMS Pro.
- Customizable display of full market depth,
- Advanced charts and scanning tools. Watchlists with up to 100 symbols Hot-Key Order Entry
- Real-time global market data
Derivix gives traders an all-in-one solution for pricing & analytics, portfolio risk management and multi-broker electronic execution for equities and derivatives markets. The trading platform is an all-in-one solution for pricing & analytics, portfolio risk management, and multi-broker electronic execution for equity and derivatives markets.
Silexx OEMS is a multi-asset class trading platform that provides streamlined execution, real-time analytics, and comprehensive risk management. I think this platform could be suitable for those of you who need maximum trade efficiency. It is one of the most powerful trading platforms on the market for active and professional traders on both sides of the trade. Silexx OEMS is available via cloud-based and on-premises deployments, both offer reliable trading technology, fast executions, advanced trading analytics, real-time risk management, and low latency. It is built to support the needs of active, professional traders and hedge funds.
Wex’s options functionality is unsurpassed, giving options traders the tools they need for efficient options trading in today’s environment. Wex has its roots in derivatives trading, and it remains Wex’s specialty. Real-time data is dynamically streamed and packaged giving traders an in-depth look into the options marketplace empowering them with an abundance of data.
The efutures platform gives futures traders a feature-rich platform full with features that is powered by CQG to help them execute trades in a prompt manner and capitalize on market opportunities. You can execute futures and options on futures trades, view market data and quotes, manage orders and more. The efutures mobile app allows traders to see advanced market data and execute orders on the go. Built on CQG’s robust cloud infrastructure, get the data quality, coverage, and reliability that global traders have come to expect.
- Global data coverage
- FX and futures style quote boards
- Account summary views of OTE, P/L and margin
- Highly customizable interface
- Works on virtually any platform
You can access a wealth of trading tools including market intelligence, social monitoring, financial news, and advanced charting. I found there to be some brilliant tools and resources which are great for making smarter trading decisions based on professional market analysis. You can evaluate stocks, analyze company fundamentals, manage your risk and identify new trading opportunities.
TipRanks is a comprehensive investing tool that allows professional traders to see the measured performance of anyone who provides financial advice. TipRanks evaluates public stock recommendations made by ﬁnancial analysts and financial bloggers and ranks experts based on their accuracy.
Social Market Analytics
Social Market Analytics has become the leader in providing APIs for quantitative systemic trading firms and market makers. SMA’s patented processes offer the financial and marketing communities new data sources to evaluate financial data sets, enhance returns, and reduce risk, allowing SMA to operate as a predictive analytics FinTech firm for companies and traders alike.
Trade The News
Trade the News is a financial newsfeed platform serving active traders and institutions with low-latency market-moving data, analytics, stories, and actionable ideas around-the-clock. Covering U.S. and global equities, bonds, commodities, and FX markets.
eSignal provides some of the most advanced charting tools for active traders. As a Lightspeed customer, you can integrate the Lightspeed Trader trading platform with eSignal.
Hammerstone Markets, Inc.
Hammerstone Markets is a chat-based platform utilized by hundreds of traders, providing subscribers with up-to-the-minute breaking news headlines that drive the market. You can benefit from a 25% discount on monthly subscription as a Lightspeed customer, using reference “Lightspeed”.
Lightspeed Risk Suite
Lightspeed offers Lightspeed Risk, a great solution for risk management that manages Lightspeed Trader activity. The risk management application is designed to help trade managers and risk supervisors manage risk across multiple accounts. Users can monitor profit, loss, halted trading symbols, and real-time trading activity. Users can also access an automated, real-time short locate system which allows for electronic requests and ensures compliance regulation. I really like this tool and think it is great to see the broker implement something that can help traders efficiently manage risk.
- Symbol Monitoring: Quickly see traders’ exposure to a particular symbol of interest
- Halted Symbols: See which traders are holding a halted trading symbol and the number of shares
- Trade Watcher: Real-time scrolling view of all executions for your trading group
- Equity Ratio Monitors: Display a trader’s real-time profit or loss as a percentage of their total account value. This can be used on both individual and grouped accounts and monitor risk across all products traded
- Short Sale Requester: Real-time locate system of electronic requests and responses that ensures compliance with regulations
- Trading Limits: Set P&L, positions size, and other trading limits on any supervised account. Violations are automatically blocked
- Portfolio margin and advanced options risk
- Completely customizable design window layouts and all columns
In addition to the fast and reliable trading technology that Lightspeed offer, they also provide free trading tutorials, guides, videos, 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. You can take advantage of the resources available to build your confidence and get the most out of the extensive range of trading platforms and tools. I enjoyed browsing through the video tutorials which I feel can improve your knowledge of trading to ensure you take advantage of all the broker has to offer.
Lightspeed have a good selection of stocks, futures, options, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for retail and institutional traders to choose from. I think there are enough instruments for everyone to create a diversified portfolio although I would like to see them add some currency pairs and cryptos. You may want to checkout IG for additional asset classes if you want to further diversify your portfolio. 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 shares per month.
Lightspeed give active and professional traders highly accurate market data and fast executions with many order routing destinations. When you open an account with them, they give you the control to choose a pricing model that compliments your trading style. Traders who meet monthly trading volume thresholds can qualify for Active Trader Commissions and benefit from deeply discounted commissions. This is a great incentive and I feel it is good that the broker rewards you for your loyalty.
I like how the broker has a variety of different account types to suit each individual traders’ requirements. You can conduct all of your trading from a single Lightspeed account, whether you are trading equities or options, trading to multiple destinations, or trading for multiple funds. This makes it easier when compared to switching between accounts for different purposes. 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
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 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. I personally always prefer to contact a broker via online chat but it isn’t really a deal breaker.
You can only fund your account 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. I actually find the options very limited and feel it would be advantageous if the broker offered online payment processors for quicker and more convenient funding.
Overall, I am really impressed with Lightspeed and the excellent range of platforms they have which are optimized for active stock and options traders. You can choose a platform according to your own trading style and access an abundance of advanced trading tools for conducting the very best market analysis possible. Lightspeed delivers speed, execution quality, platform stability and the flexibility critical to a trader’s success. There is also a plethora of educational content including handy guides and videos to bring you up to speed with the functionality of the platforms. Despite the many positives, I did find there to be quite a lot of fees that can add up. However, professional traders will probably understand that the lowest price doesn’t always mean the best value. Lightspeed strive to provide traders with the tools and resources they demand to capitalize on market movements and seize trading opportunities. If you are a beginner and looking for a more simplistic approach, feel free to take a look at our best brokers for beginners for an alternative option.