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Lightspeed Trading

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LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019
Lightspeed Trading was founded in 2006 and is currently headquartered in New York City with offices in Chicago and Houston as well.  They also have earned several accolades, which include Barron's 2015 Best Broker For Frequent Traders, Deloitte Inc. 5000 and are a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

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The Good

  • Range of traders
  • Rates
If you are an experienced or high-level trader, Lightspeed Trading might be just what you're looking for.  They offer technologically sound platforms and have an online user community to provide additional help, tips and knowledge when you need it.  Additionally, the trading is automated, making the process much easier. Benefits include:

Range of Traders

Lightspeed Trading supports sophisticated, professional, active traders with their high-touch service and high-end tools.  They offer access to proprietary and third-party trading platforms, as well as execution services, brokerage services and a variety of clearing arrangements.  They also offer 100 order routing destination. Additionally, Lightspeed Trading prides themselves in being an agency-only company where the potential for any conflict of interest is eliminated when executing orders and complete confidentiality and market anonymity is a given for clients of all sizes.

Rates

Lightspeed Trading offers some great rates, but they have limited offerings, so they are definitely not a one-stop-shop.  Now, with that being said, we are going to attempt to make sense of their pricing structure. Active Trader Commission:
  • Stocks and ETFs Per Share -  $0.0010 - $0.0035 depending on your monthly volume.
  • Stocks and ETFs Per Trade - $2.50 - $4.50 depending on your monthly volume.
  • Options Per Contract - $0.20 - $0.60 depending on your monthly volume.
  • Futures Per Contract - $0.25 - $0.50 depending on your monthly volume.
  • Mutual Funds - not offered.
Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of very confusing fine print that goes with each option; therefore, these rates could vary somewhat, and you will definitely need to make sure you thoroughly understand each option before you begin. Standard Commissions:
  • Stocks and ETFs Per Share - $0.0045
  • Stocks and ETFs Per Trade - $4.50
  • Options Per Contract - $0.60
  • Futures Per Contract - $0.60
As stated above, there is quite a bit of very confusing fine print that goes with each option; therefore, these rates could vary somewhat, and you will definitely need to make sure you thoroughly understand each option before you begin.
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The Bad

  • Mobile capability
  • Confusing pricing structure
  • Experience levels
While there are a number of quality services offered through Lightspeed, there are also a number of limitations as well. Prospective clients should be aware of the following drawbacks prior to using the service:

Mobile Capability

Unfortunately, Lightspeed Trading does not offer mobile apps of any kind.  This is very unusual given the current digital mobile age where most people have and use their mobile devices for pretty much everything.  We consider this a huge drawback for Lightspeed Trading as this benefit is restrictive to clients' ease of access and convenience and is sure to be a game-changer for most investors who prefer to oversee and manage their business and investments while on the go.

Confusing Pricing Structure

As you can see the pricing section above, Lightspeed Trading's pricing structure is extremely confusing, almost to the point of being misleading, once you factor in all the nearly impossible to understand the fine print.  This type of pricing structure also makes it very difficult to compare them with any of their competitors.  This might seem like a good idea to Lightspeed; however, it's very frustrating to its potential customers who might decide not to take the time needed to make sense of it all and take their business elsewhere.

Experience Levels

Lightspeed Trading makes no secret about the fact that they only want to deal with seasoned professionals and their website even states that they are an agency-only company.  And most, if not all their platforms, tools and software are all geared towards professional and institutional investors.  Therefore, if you are a new or inexperienced trader, you might want to look for another option, one who has the tools, training materials and personal assistance you are undoubtedly going to need.

Minimums

Lightspeed Trading also has some very steep minimums depending on the platform you are using.  These types of minimums are likely to be a game-changer for many people who will have no other option but to take their business elsewhere.  However, as we mentioned above, that's what Lightspeed Trading tries to do, which is weed out inactive, low volume, new or inexperienced investors.  And the best way to do that is to require extremely high minimums.
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The Bottom Line

While Lightspeed Trading appears to be a reputable company, it's pretty cut and dry that if you have just begun trading or are an inexperienced investor, that you won't want to utilize their services.  Their account minimums are too high and their platforms are too confusing.  Additionally, you are limited on what you can invest in comparison to other companies in the industry. With that being said, if you are a professional or institutional investor, we have no problem offering them a good recommendation, especially with their multitude of professional platforms, tools and software that were designed with you in mind.  However, just as with anything else, we encourage you to perform your own due diligence, before deciding whether or not they are the right fit for you.
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