Despite targeting active and expert traders, Lightspeed offers a limited selection of financial instruments. You can only trade stocks, ETFs, options and futures. Lightspeed offers a separate platform for trading futures. Mutual funds, bonds, currencies and zero-commission ETFs aren’t available.
Lightspeed is best for active and professional traders who trade stocks in monthly volumes of one million and more. Here’s why:
- High fees. Trading stocks and options with Lightspeed comes with high fees. But you get discounts for trading high volumes.
- Direct market access. You trade directly on the market, often resulting in a better execution speed and at a better price.
- Routing options. Lightspeed offers around 25 routing venues, such as NASDAQ, ARCA, BATS, IEX and more. Some of these venues offer rebates when you add liquidity through them, that is, when you sell shares to the market at a certain price.
- Customization options. Customize hotkeys for trade execution and routing options. Also, use the Application Programming Interface (API) to convert your trading style into an algorithmic strategy and execute up to 1,500 orders per minute.
- Level 2 market data. Depending on the platform, you can see the price where the bulk of the orders are waiting to be executed, giving you insight beyond any price chart.
- Access to Eze EMS platform. The Eze EMS platform is used by hedge funds, registered investment advisors and professional traders. If you’re managing other people’s money, you can use trade allocations and get multi-account access.
Lightspeed isn’t the cheapest trading platform. Its trading fees come close to what you’d pay with some brokers, such as Interactive Brokers, but it’s a far cry from fee-free brokers. If your trading volume is in the millions of shares each month, you can join the active trader group and get discounts on your trading. For example, you start with a $0.0045 fee per share with a $1 minimum, but you can lower this to $0.002 per share if you trade more than a million per month. You can lower this even further.
Important: If you qualify for a volume discount, call 888-577-3123 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to join the active trader commission group.
Lightspeed charges many fees. Here’s a breakdown.
- Stocks and ETFs per trade for standard accounts
- Stocks and ETFs per trade for active trader accounts
- From $2.50 to $4.50, depending on the number of trades
- Stocks and ETFs per share for standard accounts
- Stocks and ETFs per share for active trader accounts
- $0.0045 with a $1 minimum
- From $0.001 to $0.0045 with a $1 minimum
|Options per contract||$0.60 with a $1 minimum|
|Futures per side||$1.29|
|IRA opening fee||$20|
|IRA annual fee (first year waived)||$35|
|IRA closing fee||$95|
|Minimum monthly commission for accounts under $15,000 (waived if you meet the $25 threshold with trading fees)||$25|
|Options exercise/assignment fee||$15|
|Wire transfer fees||$20|
|Over-the-counter trades (OTCBB)||$10|
|Market data streaming news||$13 for non-professional|
|Routing fees (if you don’t use the LSPT routing)||From $0.001 to $0.003|
Signing up with Lightspeed is simple. Here’s how to do it.
- Visit the Lightspeed website.
- Select Open Account at the top.
- Select Stocks & Options or Futures depending on what you want to trade.
- Fill out the application form with the required information.
- Select the account type — individual, joint, LLC, corporate, partnership or IRA.
- Select the pricing model — per share or per trade.
- Select the kind of account you would like to open — Cash, margin/short or day trading margin/short account.
- Select whether you would like to trade options.
- Fill out your financial details and trading experience.
- Provide your investment objectives and submit the application.
To open a Lightspeed trading account, you need:
- To be at least 18 years of age
- To be a US citizen
- $10,000 to deposit for cash and margin/short accounts
- $25,000 to deposit for day trading margin/short accounts
To successfully open your Lightspeed account, you must provide:
- Your name and contact information
- Date of birth
- A copy of your driver’s license or another government-issued ID
- Social security number
- Employment status
- Source of income
Lightspeed offers some of the best research tools to help you make the right trading decisions. Here’s what you get.
- Tipranks. With the Lightspeed platform, you get free access to Tipranks, which otherwise costs $359.40 annually. It can help you see the stock picks and price targets of popular traders and analysts.
- Social Market Analytics (SMA). The social sentiment tool by SMA scans Twitter data to capture financial sentiment about a certain stock or commodity. You see the sentiment as positive, negative or neutral, giving you an idea of how other people view the stock.
- Tradethenews.com access. Get low-latency market news, analytics and data to help in your trading decisions.
Lightspeed can be an excellent broker for active and professional traders, but there are some drawbacks to consider.
- Multiplatform. Choose from five platforms based on your needs. For example, the Livevol X is better for options trading, the Sterling Trader Pro platform offers access to level 2 data to help you see where other traders have placed their orders or use the Lightspeed Trader for the best of both worlds.
- Stock and options scanner. Identify trading opportunities based on parameters that you define. You can also look for stocks where the bid exceeds the ask price to make trading decisions, which not many brokers offer
- Research tools. Free access to Tipranks alone saves you $359.40 annually. You also get access to a social sentiment tool and news from tradethenews.com.
- Custom hotkeys. Customize your Lightspeed Trader commands with hotkeys. The amount of customization is way better than what you can get with other platforms; you can set a button to instantly buy or sell, use different routing options and more.
- Custom coding. Those who know C++ can code algorithms for the Lightspeed Trader platform that can execute trades on your behalf. You can execute as many as 1,500 trades per second.
- High minimum deposits. You can’t open an account unless you deposit at least $10,000. And this only gives you access to the web trader and not the other trading platforms. To get full access, you need to deposit at least $25,000.
- Expensive IRA accounts. There are many fees associated with IRA accounts with this broker. Other brokers come with virtually no fees, which makes them a better option than Lightspeed.
- Fees. There are many fees associated with Lightspeed trading. Even stocks and options cost more than some competitor brokers that offer no-fee trading.
- Limited trading instruments. You can’t trade currencies, mutual funds or bonds. If that’s what you trade even occasionally, Lightspeed won’t be a good choice for you.
Yes. Lightspeed was founded in 2006 but in 2018 was bought by Wedbush Securities, an investment firm based in Los Angeles. Lightspeed is headquartered in New York and Chicago, and it’s authorized by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) under the Central Registration Depository (CRD) number 104369.
As a parent company, Wedbush provides excess Securities Investor Protection Corporation SIPC coverage for each client account. The coverage is carried by Wedbush on behalf of Lightspeed. With the SIPC coverage, each account is covered up to $25,500,000 at no charge. Keep in mind: this does not cover asset losses due to market fluctuations.
Lightspeed isn’t as popular as some of the other brokers like Webull, TD Ameritrade or Robinhood, which isn’t surprising considering the high entry requirements. Because of that, Lightspeed doesn’t have many reviews online.
As of February 2022, Lightspeed isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but it earns a B- rating. On the BBB site, Lightspeed has no user reviews and only one complaint in the past three years. On Trustpilot, it has five reviews with an average rating of 4.1.
There are three ways to contact Lightspeed support:
- Online through the site’s messaging platform.
- Call 332-208-6929 for domestic or +1-646-393-4800 for international.
- Send an email at email@example.com
To open an account with Lightspeed, you need at least $10,000 or $25,000, depending on which trading platform you intend to use. Because of the high minimum deposit and the discounts on high volume trading, this broker is worth considering only for day traders and professionals.
But if you don’t want to deposit $10,000 or more or if you’re looking for an IRA account, other brokers could be a better option. If you’re new to trading stocks, read our guide.
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