Lightspeed Trading Review 2018

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Audience matters at Lightspeed Trading. If you are a day trader, a hedge fund, an institution, a financial professional or a trading group looking for fast execution at low cost without the need for bells and whistles, Lightspeed is worthy of serious consideration.

Lightspeed caters to stock, options and futures traders, but mutual fund and bond investors will need to look elsewhere.

Where Lightspeed shines is its clean, fast order fills and low costs, especially for volume traders. However, beginner investors and newbies should look elsewhere for educational resources, research, and a more friendly user interface.

Lightspeed Trading Spotlight

LIGHTSPEED TRADING SPOTLIGHT
lightspeed trading logo

InvestorMint Rating

3.5 out of 5 stars

  • Promo: 14-day Free Trial
  • Account Balance Minimum: $10,000 for Web Trader Platform
  • Commissions: $0.0045 per share under 249,999 shares
  • Commissions: $1 minimum

Lightspeed Trading
Platforms & Customers

Lightspeed Trading has a variety of platforms, mostly catering to professional traders, hedge funds and institutions, with high account minimums and serving primarily equities and options traders.

Lightspeed is unabashedly designed for active, high volume and professional traders and customers can select from a variety of trading platforms.

Web/Mobile Trader is best for traders who are looking to buy and sell equities and options. Watchlists and streaming level 1 quotes are available.

The other platforms, LS Trader, Sterling, Livevol X, and RealTick Pro are designed for hedge funds, institutions, active traders and professional investors.

All platforms cater to equities and options trading but futures are only available using RealTick Pro.

Streaming Level 2 quotes are available on all platforms except the Web/Mobile Trader platform.

All platforms support Watchlists and most (only Livevol X is the exception) cater to after-hours trading.

With its focus on fast execution it’s no surprise Lightspeed caters to Hot Key Order Entry, which is available on its LS Trader, Sterling, and RealTick Pro platforms.

Regular investors have full access to Lightspeed on mobile devices as well as via the web. Other platforms are downloadable to desktop.

Lightspeed Trading is best for:

  • Institutional investors
  • Hedge funds
  • Day traders
  • Professional traders
  • Trading groups
  • Fee conscious traders
  • Highly active traders

Platform Account Minimums

Platform Comparison LS Trader Sterling Livevol X RealTick Pro Web/Mobile Trader
Cash Account Minimum $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $10,000

Our review will focus on Lightspeed Trader, the main platform for regular investors.

Lightspeed Trading
Commissions & Fees

Lightspeed Trading offers a tiered pricing structure that rewards volume traders and active stock, options and futures traders.

Volume discounts at Lightspeed are very appealing to high volume, active traders. Once you are classified in the Active Trader Group Rate, you are charged that rate on all shares.

For example, if you trade over 1 million shares monthly, you will be charged the rate of $0.0025 on all shares traded, not just those shares over 1 million.

Stock & ETFs Per Share

Per Share Rate Monthly Volume
Under 249,000 $0.0045
Over 250,000 $.0035
Over 1,000,000 $0.0025
Over 3,000,000 $0.0020
Over 6,000,000 $0.0015
Over 15,000,000 $0.0010

Stock & ETFs Per Trade

Per Trade Rate Monthly Volume
Under 250 $4.50
Over 250 $4.00
Over 750 $3.50
Over 1,500 $3.00
Over 3,000 $2.75
Over 10,000 $2.50

Options Per Contract

Per Contract Rate Monthly Volume
Under 500 $0.60
Over 500 $0.50
Over 2,000 $0.45
Over 10,000 $0.35
Over 50,000 $0.25
Over 100,000 $0.20

Futures Per Contract

Per Contract Rate Monthly Volume
Under 500 $0.60
Over 500 $0.50
Over 2,000 $0.45
Over 10,000 $0.35
Over 50,000 $0.30
Over 100,000 $0.25

Platform Software Fees

Platform Comparison LS Trader Sterling Livevol X RealTick Pro Web/Mobile Trader
Monthly Fee $100 $100 FREE $325 FREE

Lightspeed Trading
Pros and Cons

Lightspeed Trading offers hyperactive traders excellent commissions rates and a wide variety of trading platforms to cater to their needs but account minimums are high, the user interface lacks polish, and only equities, options and futures are supported.  

Lightspeed Trading Pros Lightspeed Trading Cons
Fast Execution Speed: Lightspeed Trading was built for lightning fast order execution. Clients receive better fills because Lightspeed is not compensated for order flow; order flow is processed through dedicated Lightspeed Gateway hardware. High Account Minimum: To fund an account at Lightspeed Trading, $25,000 is required and a $10,000 account balance minimum must be maintained thereafter.
Low Commissions: Flat rate orders starting at $4.50 for equities are supported as well as per share equities orders beginning at $0.0045 per share and $0.60 per contract for options and futures. No Mutual Funds or Bonds: Only equities, futures and options are tradeable on Lightspeed.

Bonds and mutual funds are not supported.

✅ Wide Selection Of Platforms: Traders seeking streaming level 1 & 2 quotes, hot order key entry, front end API, options scanners, historical options data, futures ladder view, 24/7 platform access, research, and what if analysis will find a good solution in any one of the five platforms. Maintenance & Data Fees: Data fees of $10 monthly are charged to non-professionals and $120 monthly to professionals for real-time level 2 streaming quotes.

An additional $10 monthly is charged for options quotes.

✅ Customer Support: Customer service is good but not stellar with reasonable though not lightning fast response times. Limited Charting Features: Advanced charting tools, studies and overlays do not compare at Lightspeed to industry bellwethers, such as Schwab and TD Ameritrade.

Lightspeed Trading Securities

Equities, options and futures trading is supported at Lightspeed Trading but mutual funds investors and Forex traders should look to other platforms, such as Vanguard and TradeKing.

Lightspeed Trading Snapshot View

Lightspeed Trading has a high initial funding requirement and high account balance minimum plus a high portfolio margin minimum but commissions on equities, options and futures orders are highly competitive.

Security Fees
Stocks $4.50
Options
(per contract)
$0.60
Futures $0.60
Account Balance Minimum $10,000
Initial Funding Requirement $25,000
Pattern Day Trade Account Minimum $25,000
Portfolio Margin $175,000

Lightspeed Trading Platform Features

Type Capability
Desktop YES
(some platforms)
Web-based YES
Mobile YES
Trading Tools & Research YES
(trade ideas, TipRanks, Hammerstone Markets)
Education YES
(Blog, Videos, Glossary, Webinars)
Charting YES
(limited compared to thinkorswim & TradeStation)

Lightspeed Trading Account Types

Type Capability
Individual/Joint YES
Partnerships YES
Corporate YES
LLC YES
Registered Hedge Fund YES
Trust YES
IRAs YES
(Roth, Traditional, and SEP)

Lightspeed Trading Summary

Lightspeed Trading is designed for highly active traders who are fee sensitive. Volume discounts are applied with ever higher trading volumes to incentivize trading frequency.

The bells and whistles of advanced charting tools, research, back-testing and screeners for which thinkorswim and TradeStation are known are lacking at Lightspeed Trading.

Also lacking are mutual funds and bonds, which appeal to casual and beginner investors.

The bottom line is traders who know what and how they want to trade will find Lightspeed does an excellent job meeting their needs for inexpensive clean fills while investors needing a little more hand-holding and support should also consider other brokerage platforms.

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