I was debating how to start this latest Lightspeed Review. As a result, my wife suggested I do it the way Einstein would. "Once upon a space-time..." Then she laughed and disappeared; at the speed of light.
I was amused by her cleverness. However, you're not here to read my wife's witty replies. So let's get on with taking a look at Lightspeed; a broker committed to serving sophisticated and professional traders.
You need to be comfortable with the broker you choose because it's the hub of everything trading related. Buying and selling stocks as well as options, charting, and style are all important.
New York-based Lightspeed is a division of Lime Brokerage. The company started in 1994. They offer lower rates for high-volume trades. As a result, they attract very active traders. This includes Institutions and Hedge Funds.
The lowest rate for stocks is $0.001 per share. That's a good deal! However, that's if you trade over 250,000 shares per month; about 12,000 shares per day. Needless to say, brokers' fees and commissions make a difference. Especially to the bottom line of those trading substantial numbers.
Lightspeed and Lime Brokerage offer more than a lower-cost trading solution. As their name implies, speed executions of trades are part of their proposition. I wouldn't call it a USP however. USP is also known as Unique Selling Proposition.
In fact, many other platforms claim the same. Take a look at our recent Speedtrader review to see what I mean. Nonetheless, let's take a look under the hood of Lightspeed. As a result, you can be the judge.
Let's take a look at the trading platforms in this Lightspeed review.
Livevol X - This free platform is suited to nonprofessional traders. It can be used on multiple monitors. Livevol X features include multi-leg order execution, Level II quotes, data analytics. Also included are risk, position, and trade analysis. It's a useful tool for derivatives traders and offers 24/7 access to exchanges (learn how to invest in stocks).
Web/Mobile Trader - The free Web/Mobile platform is for traders on the go. It's accessible from a browser or mobile device. You need an internet connection. You can view real-time data and execute orders from your Mac, PC, tablet, or phone. The platform is good for non-professional traders. However, less than ideal for daytraders. Level II quotes are not available on this platform.Lightspeed Trader – Overall, it's customizable and functions on multiple screens. Orders are sent rapidly to over 100 routing destinations. There are features like advanced charting capabilities, the Lightscan search tool, Level II quotes, risk controls, and custom orders, to name a few. That makes the Lightspeed Trader platform more suited for active traders. Check out a list of the best trading companies.
Sterling Trader Pro - Just like the "Pro" in the name says, this platform is designed for professional and institutional traders. Hotkeys and load order entry make it instantaneously fast. It's full-featured and highly customizable. It includes Level II quotes, real-time profit and loss information, advanced charting capabilities, and portfolio management tools.
RealTick Pro and Express - For highly experienced traders, the RealTick platform is the most sophisticated. It's designed to be used by hedge funds, registered investment advisors, and active traders. This platform provides access to both Level I and Level II streaming data. RealTick is Lightspeed's futures-trading platform. Two options are offered, RealTick Pro and RealTick Express.
Just go to Lightspeed to compare platforms (watch us do trading live each day in our trading rooms).
Let's take a look at the accounts in this Lightspeed review. Lightspeed offers individual, joint, partnership, corporate, LLC, trust, and registered hedge fund accounts. Furthermore, they offer traditional, Roth, and SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA accounts.
In addition, Lightspeed offers account types, such as:
You can fund your accounts via ACH, domestic or international wire transfer, or check.
However, new traders opening a small trading account may find Lightspeed's minimum fund requirements daunting.
At this time, the minimum amount is $10,000 for Web Trader platform accounts. Then jumps to $25,000 for accounts on the Lightspeed Trader, Sterling Trader, and RealTick platforms.
IRAs are one of the exceptions. You can open an account for as low as $2,000 depending on the platform. Portfolio Margin accounts require a minimum of $175,000; unless using the Livevol X platform. Then it's $110,000.
Prices vary depending on the number of trades. In fact, Lightspeed's fees drop considerably for high-volume traders.
As of this writing, stock trade rates start at $4.50 per trade. However, they drop to as low as $2.50 per trade for those with a volume of over 10,000 trades per month.
Options prices range from $0.60 to $0.20 per contract depending on monthly volume. Likewise for futures traders, with prices ranging from $0.60 to $0.25 per contract.
Lightspeed's fees and commissions make it a desirable option for high-volume traders. For more information on pricing, visit Lightspeed. Also see their routing fees, margin rates, and service & processing fees.
Lightspeed demos are available on request. In fact, the company offers tutorials, webinars, a trading glossary, and has an active trading blog. Lightspeed's customer support is notable in that it has associates who speak English, Chinese, and Spanish.
Lightspeed even offers excess SIPC insurance. Additional options are specialized software for stock, options, and futures traders, trade reporting software and risk management software.
Talking about risk management, I'll conclude this Lightspeed review by reminding you that it takes more than a good system and broker to make money in the markets.
I was reading the Market Wizard series of books, looking for the magic formula used by the superstar traders making multi-million dollars. I found that they all had different approaches.
Except for one thing. The secret that's not a secret. They were all applying 'money and risk management' principles. When trading, watch your risk.
Understand how much you can make while limiting your loses. Taking the appropriate position size for your account will allow you to last long enough to learn to be a profitable trader. Don't do it alone. Join the Bullish Bears Community.
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