10.18.2011
By Terry Flanagan

Lightspeed Launches Institutional Service

Firm is broadening its services to include prime brokerage.

Companies that have made their reputations servicing active equity traders are broadening their services to include new asset classes as well as institutional services.

A case in point is Lightspeed Financial, whose Lightspeed Trader platform caters to professional traders, The company this year has acquired Greenmoor Financial Group to expand into options, and has recently launched a prime brokerage business, which provides a bridge in the company’s growth path to delivering trading technology and brokerage services across asset classes.

“As an agency broker-dealer, Lightspeed began in 2006 by servicing only the most active professional traders,”  Andrew Actman, chief strategy officer at Lightspeed Financial, told Markets Media. “We then broadened the scope of our offering to service a wider subset of clients that included retail-oriented traders – those who trade to supplement their incomes – as well as the more sophisticated market participants including prop and algorithmic trading firms and black box traders.”

The prime brokerage service, which  is housed within Lightspeed Institutional, a new division of the company’s introducing broker/dealer subsidiary, offers a fully-integrated, specialized prime brokerage platform for professional investors.

The decision to expand into prime brokerage stems from the company’s  desire to meet the demands of a growing number of sophisticated investors who have grown dissatisfied with the level and cost of service they are receiving from some of the bigger players in the space.

“While existing clients can certainly benefit from this offering, our prime brokerage business is geared more toward an institutional user base, adding reporting tool, additional execution services and a sales trading desk to our already robust suite of brokerage services,” Actman said.

In addition to front-end manual and automated trading solutions, it provides a sales trading desk for execution services, technology solutions, custody, clearing, securities lending, and portfolio reporting.  Lightspeed Institutional also delivers robust pre-trade risk management and real-time risk monitoring.

The Greenmoor acquisition significantly augmented Lighstpeed’s presence in the options arena.  Although it currently has some options functionality integrated into its Lightspeed Trader platform, there were some key features including a trading opportunity software scanner and complex options, that its clients requested that we was able to find in Greenmoor’s Green Trader platform, according to Stephen Ehrlich, chief executive officer of Lightspeed Financial.

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