Lightspeed vs. Interactive Brokers

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by AndyChao, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. AndyChao


    Hi all ... I've narrowed down my choices for a new account to Lightspeed and IB ... I'll be daytrading with a $50k account ... from what I've researched, there isn't one clear winner.

    Lightspeed has good execution, decent charts, but is somewhat cumbersome if trying to place a contingent order to triggers two orders for a stop and a limit sell.

    IB costs a bit more, has good orders, but has bad charts.

    Has anyone used both? Any thoughts? Thanks for any idea.s
  2. I use lightspeed daily, I absolutelt love it. There are no OCO orders to my knowledge, however you can set it to cancel pending orders when a position is closed if you have a stop & a limit order pending. The charts are horrrrrrrible terrible, I use thinkorswim charts actually, they're what I've been using for forever and what I'm used to. When I say bad I'm talking they basically have 10 technichal studies that you'd probably never use besides SMA and does not save any drawings, zooming in or out is a nightmare and dont even think about looking back at a specific period in time. The google finance charts are better. There is no way to link LS to ToS either which becomes annoying. I have used IB and the charts are a bit better. If you're daytrading off the tape, lightspeed is pretty great for that. My trading is all about being quick quick quick and LS is great for that, very upfront, no nonsense. The alerts are great and if you have a bunch go off you can lay them out pretty nicely. LS makes it pretty easy to keep track of your positions in any way you want and you can have a ton of level2 boxes open if thats your thing. The order imbalance window can slow down your datafeed a bit because it is so much data. LS also has a great feature which shows in real-time stocks that are making new highs or lows which can give you a great idea of market momentum ahead of the spys or q's. Hope this helps :)
  3. I tried to help out a friend code something using his IB demo account during development
    Couldn't get the damn thing to show up.

    Then I remembered that someone here posted that IB no longer allows their demo account to run on a different pc than their live account if the live account is already logged-in.

    Which is great if you happen to be like IB in-staff developers who never make coding or logic errors while developing, but not everybody is quite that perfect....

    I also found out that there is something that existed even before killing the demo acct data, called a "pacing violation" where you can't request too much historical data at one time..... seems that IB is just looking to take more stuff away from its clients rather than help them.

    Will tell my friend to look into Lightspeed and others and see if they have the same approach as IB does.
  4. luisHK


    If you only daytrade you won't notice this but after checking Lighspeed's website, it appears their margin rates are over twice those of IB - besides Lightspeed doesn't seem to offer non US markets
  5. JackR


    Trading what?

  6. I am doing this exact comparison right now; here is what i am thinking:

    For futures (specifically \ES):
    IB round trip commision: $4
    Lightspeed round trip rate: $3.52

    That said at IB my day trading margin is half the regular reg-t margin; so about 2500$; at Lightspeed there is no such thing; so i have to put up 5k per contract.

    For stocks:
    I used to think IB doesnt pass through rebates. But looks like it does if i choose the cost plus commision structure.

    So 0.0035 on IB vs 0.0045 on Lightspeed

    From what i can tell, there is not much difference in the rebates that are passed through.

    So most likely they are comparable; but IB seems to have a slight edge.

    Love to see anyone dissect my numbers and point out to whether it is correct or not.


    Platform wise: I've heard both good and bad things about both platforms; one good thing with IB atleast is its API can be called from Amibroker which i use a lot.

  7. JackR


    I'm an IB customer so I'm happy with them.

    You say reg-t margin - Reg T applies to equities, not futures. If you are referring to futures margin (technically a performance bond), I believe Lightspeed does offer day-trading margin on the limited number of futures they allow you to trade. Be aware that IB does have a habit of raising margin requirements when the market gets highly volatile. That 1/2 rate can go away.

    At IB if you do no trading during the month you'll pay $20, at Lightspeed, if you trade an insufficient number of futures you'll pay $71. Also check the data fees each charges.

    Another big IB advantage is the "Universal Account". All your free funds are, in-effect, treated as being in the stock account and are therefore under SPIC coverage. Futures accounts are not SPIC protected.

    When interest rates go back up you'll like IB's margin rates. They also pay you on idle funds (over $10K) in your account. I doubt that Lightspeed does.

    Customer service is still not of the hand-holding variety, but it has gotten a lot better from what I've seen here on ET. I very rarely use them.

  8. jbusse


    I've been a satisfied Interactive Brokers customer for a few years, but recently opened an account at Lightspeed to compare. Here are the issues that caught my attention:

    Lightspeed has no GTC option for stock orders (which is strange), but that's not an issue if you only daytrade. I do some swing trades, but it requires re-entering orders each day at Lightspeed.

    Lightspeed orders are canceled when you exit the trading platform. Interactive Brokers orders remain open according to your day/GTC instructions when you exit TWS.

    Far better book of shortable stocks at Interactive Brokers, and easier process to locate hard to borrows (all electronic) vs. having to phone in requests at Lightspeed.

    Interactive Brokers pre-empts margin calls stemming from using too much margin overnight by warning you at 3:40pm and automatically reducing your exposure at 3:50pm. It is much easier to mistakenly exceed overnight buying power at Lightspeed, with no warning or automatic position exit. No margin calls for me ever at Interactive Brokers. I had a margin call my first week at Lightspeed (caught me completely off guard as there was no warning) and had to deposit additional funds to resume trading.

    I didn't try to do a pegged order at Lightspeed, but my recollection is that order type is not available there.

    I had issues getting prompt replies to email requests at Lightspeed, even when Lightspeed indicated email as the preferred contact method.

    If I recall correctly, far lower portfolio margin requirements at Interactive Brokers ($100K vs. $500K).

    I-pad and I-phone apps with Interactive Brokers, nothing with Lightspeed.

    Much better reporting options with Interactive Brokers. Lightspeed has Penson reports, which are not as extensive or customizable.

    You need permission to trade odd lot stock orders at Lightspeed, and they reserve the right to ban you from trading odd lots if you end up submitting two odd lot orders with the same limit price.
  9. so at IB, if i put a marketable limit order (say limit order to sell at ask; or buy at bid) and route it to an exahange with rebates will i get the rebate back?

    Looks like it should but talking to a rep they say i wont know if it adds liquidity or removes until it gets executed. My understanding is if its a marketable limit order, it is always adding liquidity.


    Also Andy, you mention "IB costs a bit more, has good orders, but has bad charts."

    -> Why do you say IB costs a bit more; looks like it 0.0035 at IB vs 0.0045 at LS
  10. d08


    Just when I thought IB was decent and almost had my faith restored.
    Today, I submitted a short order to be executed at the open. I got the standard bright green status reading "The order is on the exchange". A minute or two before the open the order was dark green meaning they're attempting to locate shares for short selling.
    This has all been confirmed by logs and IB "customer service".
    What clearly happened was, a bigger IB client with priority stepped in front of me and I was literally sacrificed.
    So you should know that even when it says that your order is on the exchange and everything looks as it should, IB might cancel that order with any reason of their choosing.
    #10     Jul 13, 2011