Investing » Broker Reviews » Lightspeed Broker Review 2021: impressive trading experience, mainly for professionals
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Lightspeed Broker Review 2021: impressive trading experience, mainly for professionals

Lightspeed offering to its clients sophisticated research tools as well as the possibility to trade all markets from a single account. Here's our review.

We may receive compensation from companies that appear on this page. This may impact how and where products appear on a page (including, for example, the order in which they appear). It doesn’t affect our unbiased editors’ opinions. our opinions are our own.

Lightspeed Review

A division of Lime Brokerage, Lightspeed offers financial services to the United States and international customers. Headquartered in New York, it specializes in equities, options and futures trading, with a reputation of having a customizable and stable technology, so traders benefit from the best possible conditions.

Offering to its clients sophisticated research tools as well as the possibility to trade all markets from a single account, Lightspeed emerged as a broker that tries to make things as simple as possible to its client base.

With a competitive margin rate, Lightspeed competes successfully with big names in the industry and excels in some areas (e.g., trading education) where others still struggle.

lightspeed-broker review

On Lightspeed Secure Website

Account Options

– Stocks / Options / ETFs
– Futures
– Retirement
– Margin Account

Minimum Deposit

$10,000

PROS

CONS

Lightspeed is a division of Lime Brokerage and offers financial services to both U.S. and international customers. From its headquarters in New York, Lightspeed specializes in options, futures, and equities trading and has established a reputation for stable, customizable technology, allowing traders to benefit from optimal conditions. 

The company offers access to sophisticated research tools and the possibility to trade on all markets with just a single account. This simplifies the process, but it does come at a cost. Lightspeed customers need to pay a monthly fee for the software used on the main trading platform. 

This monthly subscription does provide access to state of the art technology to aid navigation through the ever complicated financial markets. 

While it is not the cheapest brokerage, with its competitive rates and the emphasis on client education, Lightspeed obviously cares about its client’s success. 

How Lightspeed Trade Work?

Lightspeed stands for extensive trading education facilities, a wide range of trading platforms available, as well as fair prices for stocks, options, and futures trading. As always, quality comes at a higher price, and that's the reason why Lightspeed customers pay a monthly fee for the software used on the broker's main trading platforms.

Lightspeed is a regulated broker that accepts both U.S. and international customers. It charges a monthly subscription for using the software to run its trading platforms, but the traders get access to state-of-the-art technology that helps them navigate the ever-complex financial markets.

Lightspeed comes as a brokerage that is not among the cheapest ones to do business with, but with an interesting offer, nevertheless. With competitive rates and an emphasis on educating its clients, Lightspeed is a broker that cares about their customers’ success, if judging only by the transparency of its offering and the efforts put into the trading education section.

Trading Products

Lightspeed has a simple and concise offering, without overcomplicating things and lets traders know from the start what they can trade when opening an account – stocks, ETFs, options, futures.

ProductDescription
Stocks and ETFsTrade the equity market with a cost/share or per trade
OptionsOptions trading at competitive rates
Futures

Competitive commissions for the active futures trader

Additional discounts for high-volume traders

Commissions and Fees

Before anything, to use the flagship trading platform and other platforms too, you need to pay a monthly fee for the software. That's a big chunk of Lightspeed's revenues and a tool that allows it to offer competitive rates on the regular trading products.

Naturally, Lightspeed presents its commissions and compares them with the competition, without mentioning this fee, while competitors may not charge a monthly fee for the use of the trading platform.

As for the regular commissioning, stocks and ETFs trading come in either per share or per trade charge.

If you choose to trade stocks and ETFs on a per-share basis, the pricing starts from $0.0010 on a minimum monthly volume of 15 million shares and rises thereafter. The per trade option starts at $2.5 on a monthly volume over 10,000 trades and increases as the traded volume decreases.

Options trading comes at the cost of $0.2 per contract on a monthly volume of over 100,000 contracts. As with stocks and ETFs, the lower the monthly volume, the higher the per contract rate.

Futures trading at Lightspeed has a simple fee structure – only $1.29/side on futures and $1.79/contract on options.

Last but not least, Lightspeed also charges a $25 monthly minimum commission fee for accounts under $15,000. Also, a bunch of other commissions and fees exist, so make sure to check everything that goes under different categories such as service, processing, or routing fees, as they can amount to important sums.

Like any other broker, there are pros & cons for investors/traders. Here are the main benefits and drawbacks you should know before applying:

Benefits

The website, which is the presentation gate to online trading with Lightspeed, has a simple, yet efficient way of presenting the costs and benefits associated with this broker.

The information is presented clearly and with examples so that everyone understands what it takes to trade with this broker.

Not all U.S. based brokers accept international clients, but Lightspeed does.

There's always a benefit to brokerage houses doing that because of tough conditions imposed by regulatory bodies. It means additional costs incurred by the broker, and this translates into relative higher fees charged to its clients.

However, the advantage is a higher customer pool to target.

Perhaps this is the main point on the pros list. Rarely a brokerage house goes to such extreme length to offer a wide range of trading platforms.

It even feels that the trader has too many options to choose from, but each one offers some new tools to use.

We can’t emphasize enough the extent and importance of this section part of Lightspeed’s offering.

That’s especially true in the case of options trading, where trading strategies, from simple to complex ones, are explained in detail, so traders understand the concepts and may apply them successfully in the markets.

At Lightspeed, there's a demo available for everything.

If you just want to try a specific trading platform (out of the many available), or just to see how a type of account works, all you have to do is to open a demo account and check for yourself, for free, if the broker's offering suits your needs.

It's like taking a test drive before buying a new car – if you're happy with it, most likely, you'll purchase it. 

Drawbacks

The biggest negative of them all is the monthly subscription cost for using the software to run the trading platforms. Not all trading platforms incur such cost, but the ones with the most important features do.

Therefore, before opening a trading account with this broker, make sure you understand the costs related to paying this subscription regardless of the trading performance.

Unfortunately, after hours trading is not available on the platforms that do not require a monthly subscription (Livevol X).

Therefore, the broker “directs” its clients towards other trading platforms, so that it collects the monthly subscription fee for using the trading software.

There is a lot of room for improvement in the customer support services at Lightspeed.

There's little information available as to the availability during the trading week (e.g., the trading hours to use the two phone lines for U.S. and international clients), and the live chat option doesn't exist.

As such, to get in touch with the broker, besides over a call, you need to send an email – we know traders/investors want a quick answer to fix inherent problems, so the email is the option of last resort when it comes to contacting your broker.

All trading accounts available to open at Lightspeed have a minimum cash amount to be deposited.

Moreover, a minimum cash balance during the trading life must be maintained, with additional fees applying if the account falls below a certain size.

Trading futures is possible on the Eze EMS Pro trading platform (the former RealTick), which is a bit of an inconvenience for the trader.

The problem with it is that if you're used for trading futures as well as other markets, you need to run two different trading platforms that require a lot of resources from your desktop.

At best, you need two or more machines to run different platforms – an inconvenient thing, to say the least.

Account Types

If the trading products offer is simple and concise, Lightspeed offers a wide range of account types to choose from. The idea is to cover all types of traders, from the novice to the trading professional.

Besides the regular individual, partnership, or LLC accounts, Lightspeed has some interesting options for its customers. For instance, it offers a customized solution for specific investment needs via a Separately Managed Account (SMA) account. Or, a Reg T margin account that allows the trader to borrow up to 50% of the purchase price of securities.

One important aspect to consider when choosing Lightspeed as your broker is that for any account type, there is a minimum deposit requirement in the sum of $25,000.

On top of that, some requirements apply to maintain trading privileges.

As such, the minimum equity balance ranges from $10,000 for most of the accounts and $175,000 for the Portfolio Margin account.

Account TypesDescription
Individual accountsPro cash, Pro Margin, Non-pro Cash, Non-pro Margin
Joint accountsJoint Community, Joint Tenants, Joint with Right Survivorship – all in pro and non-pro options
Corporate accountsCorporate Pro Cash, Corporate Pro Margin
LLC accountsPro Cash, Pro Margin
PartnershipPro Cash, Pro Margin
TrustPro Cash, Pro Margin
Retirement

Roth IRA

Traditional and SEP IRA

The actual name of the trading account may differ based on what the client chooses from the options list during the application process.

As such, one may end up with a Pattern Day Trade account or an Options account – all part of the types of the account listed above.

Trading Platforms

Lightspeed excels at this chapter in the sense that the trader has five trading platforms to choose from. More precisely, different platforms have been built, having in mind the end-user – individual investor, hedge funds, institutions, or professional traders.

Lightspeed Trader

This is a trading platform designed for stocks and options trading. Lightspeed’s flagship trading platform, it is ideal for day trading. With customizable layouts and rules to fit any trading style, the Lightspeed Trader platform has integrated charting with studies and also features advanced scanners and filters. Here’s a list of some of the other integrated features:

  • Streaming Level 1 & Level 2 quotes
  • Watchlists
  • Hotkey order entry
  • Basket order entry
  • After-hours trading
  • Up to forty screens of custom layouts

Sterling Trader

Designed for professionals, Sterling Trader is a Level 2 platform that includes incredible accuracy for order routing and real/time profit and loss capabilities. Among other things, this platform features:

  • Advanced charting
  • API available
  • Customizable order entry system
  • Programmable keys

Lightspeed Web&Mobile

The on-the-go solution from Lightspeed has most of the flagship’s features.

However, it is designed mostly to keep the trader up-to-date with the account’s performance and to allow the trader to intervene, if necessary.

In other words, it does just what the name suggests – provides emergency access to the account when it’s not possible to access the main platform.

Livevol X

A platform dedicated to options trading, Livevol X has unique features that allow advanced options and technical analysis and trading. It is interesting that Lightspeed offers a dedicated platform for trading options, even though the flagship platform, the Lightspeed Trader, allows options trading too.

The reason seems to be that for additional insight into the complexity of options trading, the Livevol X features help traders to come up with better trades. It may be that one uses the Livevol X features for analysis and executes the trades on the Lightspeed Trader.

Among other things, here’s what this platform offers:

  • Live order flow
  • Option market scanners
  • Option analytics
  • Save layout

EZE EMS PRO

Built with the professional trader in mind, this platform offers sophisticated studies for charting, custom tickers, hotkeys, advanced time and sales, and a fully customizable user interface.

Customer Service

While there's no live chat option available, Lightspeed customer support is easily reachable by phone both from the United States and abroad.

However, there's no indication if any of the numbers are available outside the working week hours, but clients may always send an email.

Application Process

Step 1: Visit the Lightspeed Broker homepage and click on “Open an account.”

2_Lightspeed Broker_Account info

Step 2: First, give details of your account info i.e. your names, email and phone digits.

4_Lightspeed Broker_Account Holder

Step 3: Next, is your account type, fill in the necessary details and go to stage three, where you include more details of you. Give some information about your finances and then check through the disclosures.

5_Lightspeed Broker_Financial Info

6_Lightspeed Broker_Disclosures

Step 4: Lastly, read through the agreement and click “Continue”.

7_Lightspeed Broker_Agree

8_Lightspeed Broker_Result

A page comes up telling you if the process was successful or not!

Trading Education

Few brokers dedicated so much time, money, and energy to developing a sophisticated trading educational area as Lightspeed did.

A truly impressive trading education center, it covers everything from basics of trading to product tutorials, guides to trade options and options strategies explained, as well as a trading glossary.

Two Great Alternative Brokers to Lightspeed Broker

Here are our 3 choices of brokers which can use as a great alternative to Lightspeed Broker: 

SoFi invest is NOT just another brokerage house into the niche of fractional shares investing. Instead, it is a non-bank extending its services into the investing world. 

SoFi is a good broker for those that do not afford trading with a regular, traditional investing house. High transaction costs and other barriers to entry (e.g., high minimum initial deposit) keep many wannabe investors aside – investors that just cannot afford the services but are willing to take a chance.

For such investors, SoFi is the ideal choice. No commissions or fees for transactions, easy-to-understand products (crypto, stocks, ETFs), one account to trade them all from, a friendly app, and the ability to start investing with as little as $1.

On the other hand, it signals a lack of expertise. It only shows how easy it is to enter the brokerage industry should one has the funds to meet all the compliance required by the SEC. And SoFi does have the funds from the other businesses that generate more cash flow.

Interactive Brokers offers services for both retail and institutional investors. It stands out from the pack as a broker that is best for gaining access to the worldwide markets. Interactive 

IB offers a complete brokerage service. It not only caters to individual clients, but prop traders, family offices, hedge funds, money managers, and small businesses. This makes Interactive suitable for global traders. The company recently aggressive campaigning to encourage retailer traders, who can benefit from the experience, background, and resources the company gained through big business dealings.

While it may not be the cheapest broker around, the access to global financial markets, competitive pricing, and premium technology make Interactive an interesting proposition. So, if you’re in need of a professional, regulated, global broker, who brings together institutional clients and retail traders for mutual benefit. Interactive is a solid choice. 

Lightspeed Broker Best For…

Lightspeed excels at two things – trading platforms and trading education.

Few brokers invested so much in the two, and this is one reason why trading with Lightspeed isn’t as cheap as doing the same with other brokerage houses.

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Broker Reviews Methodology

When it comes to working with investors, we want to make sure that you’re getting unbiased reviews and we want to make sure that you can get a good idea of what to expect from online brokers. We also want to make sure that whether you’re new to investing or you’ve been at it for a while you can get what you want. Here are the main things we focus: 

  • Investment Options – What type of options are available and what sort of variety? Are you able to work in ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures and more?
  • Technology – What does the system allow you to do when it comes to software and applications? Can you get data exportation, email updates and even currency support?
  • Fees – What are the costs associated with the service
  • Account Options – What types of products and features are actually available and how can you get the best variety? Where can you get good banking services like loans, checking and more? Can you do all of it in one location or are you going to have to go with different options and locations?
  • Customer Service – Do you get 24/7 responses and support? Are you going to have an easy time getting in touch with a real person for help?
  • Banking products – We look at things like savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts and CDs related to things like fees and APY. We also make sure that we’re looking at the best APY without having to worry about qualifications and expensive features. We don’t want to have a difficult usability rating or difficult to use mobile apps, ATMs or restrictions. We want to get it as easy for you as possible.