Review of Lightspeed Trading Broker

3.5/5
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Originally founded in 1994, Lightspeed Trading has built a reputation for having very fast and reliable trade execution (as the name implies). Lightspeed is also highly regarded for the cutting-edge technology applied to its trading platforms. Add to this the low fees that Lightspeed charges its customers and the result is a brokerage that appeals to active high-volume traders.

In May of 2018, Lightspeed Trading merged with Lime Brokerage and efutures. The combining of the three firms created an entity that will potentially handle approximately 1% of the US market in equities and options. The new brokerage will continue to operate under the name Lightspeed Trading and will owned by Limelight Holdings LLC. Lightspeed Trading is headquartered in New York City and has offices in Chicago, Boston, and Platteville, WI. It operates under FINRA and SEC regulations.

Lightspeed’s clearing agent Wedbush, provides excess Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”) coverage for each client account carried by Wedbush on behalf of Lightspeed. Each Lightspeed account is covered up to $25,500,000. SIPC provides coverage up to $500,000, of which a maximum of $250,000 applies to cash credit balances.

In addition to the SIPC coverage, 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, 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.

Markets Offered

Lightspeed Trading offers its clients a selection of tradable assets for U.S. Markets including stocks, EFTs, mutual funds, and options. Commissions will vary on assets depending on trade size and monthly volume. Lightspeed Trading offers its customers two pricing schedules. One based on share volume traded, the other charges a flat fee per trade Under the per-share schedule, the commission for stock and ETF trades decreases as volume increases. Under the per-trade system, the flat fee is based on the number of trades an account places per month and decreases as volume increases.

For clients that do not meet monthly trading volume criteria to qualify for Active Trader Commissions, below is a table that summarize the commissions with the lowest volume thresholds:

Tradable Instruments and Commissions: Non-Active Traders

Asset classNumber of instrumentsStarting Commission/ per share/contractTotal Monthly shares/contracts
Stocks (per share)US markets$.0045 per shareUp to 250,000
Stocks (per Trade)US markets$4.50 per tradeUp to 250
ETFs (per share)US markets$.0045 per shareUp to 250,000
ETFs (per Trade)US markets$4.50 per tradeUp to 250
OptionsUS markets$.60 per contractUp to 500
FuturesUS markets$.60 per contractUp to 500

For large institutional and high net worth clients that do meet monthly trading volume criteria to qualify for Active Trader Commissions, below is a table that summarize the commissions with the lowest commission thresholds:

Tradable Instruments and Commissions: Active Traders

Asset classNumber of instrumentsLowest Commission/ per share/contractTotal Monthly shares/contracts
Stocks (per share)US markets$.0010 per shareAbove 15mil.
Stocks (per Trade)US markets$4.50 per tradeAbove 10K
ETFs (per share)US markets$.0010 per shareAbove 15mil.
ETFs (per Trade)US markets$4.50 per tradeAbove 10K
OptionsUS markets$.20 per contractAbove 100K
FuturesUS markets$.25 per contractAbove 100K

 

Account Types

Lightspeed Trading offers different types of brokerage accounts to fit the wide range of different types of clients ranging from novice traders to large institutional hedge funds. Standard investing, and IRA Retirement accounts are available for individual traders. International accounts are available for clients outside the US. And business accounts are available for institutional entities. Initial funding for opening an account at Lightspeed Trading is $10,000, and minimum equity is $2,000. Traders that that participate in pattern day trading techniques for trading require $25,000 of initial funding and minimum account equity.

Below is a list of the types of available accounts:

Investment Accounts 
IndividualYes
JointYes
Retirement Accounts 
IRA (Traditional & Roth)Yes
SEP IRAYes
Business Accounts 
Corporate & LLCYes
Partnership & LLPYes
Sole ProprietorshipYes

Below is a list of details and features for Individual Trader Accounts.

Account TypeStandard
ScalpingYes
HedgingNo
Demo accountYes
Micro accountNo
Standard accountYes
Zero spread accountYes
VIP accountYes
Managed accountYes
Islamic accountNo
Min trade$1
Max tradeNone
Min deposit$10,000
Account SetupFree

Lightspeed Trading charges its clients various service and securities processing fees. Below is a list of fees.

DescriptionFee
ACAT Fees – InboundFREE
ACAT Fees – Outbound$95.00
ACH Transfers FundsFREE
ACH Recalls / Reversals$30.00
ACH Returns$30.00
Certificate Fees$50.00
Certificate Safe Keeping Fee$30.00/Quarter
Conversion Fees (changing ADR to ODR)$25.00
DTC Fees$25.00
Foreign securities-ACAT FeesVariable
IRA Opening Fee$20.00
IRA Annual Fee (First year waived)$35.00
IRA Closing Fee$95.00
Limited Partnership (Annual Fee)$50.00
Margin and Risk Liquidation Fees$0.01/share or $1.00/contract with a $50 per position minimum
Minimum monthly commission, accounts under $15,000$25.00
Options Exercise/Assignment Fee$15.00
Overnight Checks (Domestic)$30.00
Overnight Checks (International)$50.00
Paper Statement Delivery Fee (per mailing)$5.00
Paper Confirm Delivery Fee (per trade)$2.00
E-mail Statement and Confirm Delivery FeeFree
Pre Pay Fees$30.00
Return Certificates$25.00/Item
Saturday Delivery Checks$30.00
Stop Pay Fees (W/D)$30.00
Wire Fees (Domestic)$20.00
Wire Fees (International)$50.00
Wires Returned$30.00
OTCBB$10.00 Per Trade
Phone Orders$20.00 Per Trade
Securities Processing Fees 
ADR Hold FeeFree
DRS Statement Withdrawal$30.00
Certificate Processing Fee$75.00
DWAC and DRS Process Fee$30.00+Transfer Agent Fees
ESOP Trades$125.00
“F Stock”; Foreign Securities$75.00
Illiquid Charge$250
Non-DTC Eligible Securities$75.00
Non DTCC-eligible security execution fee$7.50
Non DTCC-eligible security DTC fee$80.00
Non DTCC-eligible security Deposit fee$75.00
Non DTCC-eligible security New York Window fee$34.00
Non DTCC-eligible security Transfer Agent feesRanges from $25.00 – $500.00
Reorganization Items (Subscriptions, Redemptions, Tenders, Exchanges and Conversions)$20.00
Replace Lost Cerificate$20.00 + Transfer Agent Fees
Request of Certificate for DRS eligible issue$350.00
Research Fee$25.00
Restricted Stock Processing$125.00
RUSH Transfer Request$575.00
Transfership request to mail to customer$235.00
Transfer of Securities Requiring Legal Opinion Documents$50.00 (Per issue)
Warrant Exercise$125.00
Worthless Security Held$7.50 / month / cusip
Worthless Security Reinstated$15.00 / cusip

Funding a Lightspeed Trading account can be accomplished via bank transfer, AHC, or check. Bank transfer transactions take up 5 business days. Opening an account with Lightspeed Trading is usually completed within up to 5 business days. Documents required are a valid ID (i.e. passport, driver’s license, or national ID), and proof of address (i.e. bank statement, utility bill, or tax invoice dated within the last three months and issued to your name and address).

Trading Platforms

Lightspeed Trading provides its clients with five trading platform options, LightSpeed Trader, Sterling, Livevol X, Eze EMS Pro, and a Web/Mobile application. Lightspeed Trading charges fees for three of the five platforms. The table below summarizes the features and fees of the trading platforms.

Features and Fees of the Lightspeed Trading Platform

Platform FeatureLightS TraderSterlingLivevol X OptionsEze EMS ProWeb/Mobile
Best for Active and Professional TradersYesYesYesYes 
Best for Hedge Funds and InstitutionsYesYesYesYes 
Best for Investors  Yes Yes
Streaming Level 1 QuotesYesYesYesYesYes
Streaming Level 2 QuotesYesYesYesYes 
EquitiesYesYesYesYesYes
OptionsYesYesYesYesYes
Futures   Yes 
WatchlistsYesYesYesYesYes
Hot Key Order EntryYesYes Yes 
Fully Customizable Order RoutesYesYes Yes 
Basket Order EntryYesYesYesYes 
After Hours TradingYesYesYesYesYes
Customizable charts with studiesYesYesYesYesYes
Mobile    Yes
Up to 40 Screens of Custom LayoutsYes    
Market ScannersYesYesYes Yes
Advanced Window LinkingYesYesYes  
Front End API (optional)YesYesYesYes 
Downloadable ApplicationYesYesYesYes 
Web Based Application    Yes
24/7 Platform Access  YesYesYes
GTC OrdersYesYesYesYesYes
Multi Account AccessYesYesYesYesYes
Futures Ladder View   Yes 
What If Analysis  Yes  
Portfolio Risk Dynamic Skew  Yes  
Options Scanners  Yes  
Historical Options Data  Yes  
ResearchYes    
Monthly Software Fee$130$230-$260Free$325Free
Software Fee Rebate EligibleYes  Yes 
Monthly Market Data FeesVariableVariableNoVariableNo
Reg-T / Cash Account Minimum$25,000$25,000$25,000$25,000$10,000

Lightspeed Trader is the flagship trading platform. It is designed and well-suited for day-traders. The platform gives all levels of traders the capability to easily design and customize layouts, rules, and fully customizable home screens and reporting to best fit different trading styles.

Lightspeed Trader Trading Platform Screen Shot

Lightspeed Trading provides its clients with a mobile application for traders that trade on the go. For options and futures traders, Lightspeed Trading provides an options and futures analysis application. Also available is a powerful Application Programming Interface (API) for traders that prefer to use third party trading platforms.

Education

The education section of Lightspeed Trading’s website provides its clients with extensive instruction, on-line classes, videos, tutorials, and a comprehensive glossary. Topics covered are trading basics, strategies, options, and platform use.

Customer Service

A Lightspeed Trading customer service can be reached by U.S. or International Clients over the phone during the week from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm, EST, or by email. Customer service is provided in English, Spanish and Chinese. Weekend support is not available.