Lightspeed Ventures Into Prime Brokerage

Lightspeed Financial, which is best known for providing technology for direct market access, is expanding into the prime brokerage business.

On Monday, the firm announced the launch of a new division, Lightspeed Institutional, which will offer a prime brokerage platform for professional investors. In addition to providing tools for front-end manual and automated trading, it will provide a sales trading desk for execution services, custody, clearing, securities lending and portfolio reporting.

“It was a natural next step for us,” said Andrew Actman, chief strategy officer for Lightspeed.

Actman noted the company recently completed two acquisitions, one of Terra Nova Financial, and one of Greenmoor. He said those acquisitions rounded out Lightspeed’s institutional offerings, both from a technology and a personnel standpoint.

Now, Lightspeed is looking to offer prime brokerage services both to its existing clients and to new institutions. Actman said the company is reaching out to hedge funds, automated trading firms and others.

“If some of our existing clientele are looking for other value added services, we’re obviously happy to offer those services,” Actman said. “But there’s a whole other market out there, institutions looking for an outsourced trading desk, execution services, technology and prime brokerage.”

Stephen Ehrlich, chief executive officer of Lightspeed Financial, said in a statement that the launch of the prime brokerage business was a necessary next step in the company’s strategic growth plan.