10 Best Prop Trading Firms of 2023 [Futures, Forex, Stocks]
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Prop trading firms are enormously popular for a good reason. Proprietary trading firms fully fund trading accounts and pay traders a profit split of up to 100%. The entry-level account size with prop trading firms is around $25,000 but goes into the millions if a trader successfully proves that he can generate meaningful returns.
The tradeable assets are typically focused on futures contracts, but various prop firms also allow trading on currencies, metals, bonds, and stocks. We have tested and ranked the best prop trading firms based on their profit splits, funding capital, trading platform features and costs.
Top Proprietary Trading Firms
- Topstep: Best Prop Firm for Futures (70% Off)
- Earn2Trade: Best Proprietary Trader Career Path (70% Off)
- The5ers: Best Prop Firm for Forex (5% Off)
- Trade The Pool: Best Prop Firm for Stocks (5% Off)
1. Topstep – Best Prop Firm for Futures
Topstep is the best prop trading firm for futures trading and also the highest paying prop trading firm in the US. Topstep serves traders worldwide with high-end trading platforms, precious educational components and various prop trading accounts.
Topstep’s trading combine enables traders to trade with $50,000, $100,000 or $150,000 buying power provided by Topstep.
It is neither required to have a broker account nor to bring in risk capital. Instead, Topstep provides the money needed to trade. Since 2020, over $10,000,000 in payouts have been processed by Topstep to their traders.
With Topstep, it is possible to trade the top futures contracts such as:
- S&P 500 E-mini
- Nasdaq 100
- Crude Oil
- Mocro Indices
- Interest rates and more
Topstep is one of the best prop firms in terms of profit split. Traders take home 100% of their first $10,000 profit and keep 90% after that. The earned money can be withdrawn quickly, within 7 hours on average.
The list of supported platforms includes TSTrader, TradingView, MotionWave, Quantenturm, NinjaTrader, Quantower, Sierra Chart and many more.
The monthly fee to join the program depends on the selected account size and ranges from $165 to $375 per month (50K account=$165, $100k account=$325, $150k account=$375.)
More platform insights: Topstep Review
2. Earn2Trade – Best Proprietary Trader Career Path
Earn2Trade is the best proprietary trading firm for beginners and knows to convince with innovative concepts. They introduced a new offering called the Trader Career Path, where new prop traders can test their trading skills on a $25,000 and $50,000 virtual account.
Once futures traders pass the exam, they trade a prop trading firms account. Earn2Trade has its headquarters in the United States.
Those who start with the $50k account can level up their managed balance to a senior live account with $400,000 starting capital. The profit split is a bit more conservative compared to Topstep, but still competitive, with 80% flat on all profit made, which the trader can withdraw.
The tradeable assets include all CME future assets from CME, CBOT, NYMEX and COMEX. In addition, the supported trading platforms for their prop traders include NinjaTrader, R | Trader, Finamark, Overscharts, Multipcharts and many more to trade financial markets.
The monthly fee to join the Earn2Trade career path ranges from $150 to $190. In addition, it is possible to take a similar approach to Topstep with The Gauntlet Mini program by Earn2Trade with account sizes of $50,000 for $170, $100,000 for $315, $150,000 for $350 and $200,000 for $550.
Special Offer: A discount of 70% is available here for all account sizes.
More Platform Insights: Earn2Trade Review
3. The5ers – Best Prop Firm for Forex
Traders can start their proprietary trading career with The5ers’ Hyper Growth, Boot Camp and High Stakes funding programs focusing on forex trading of major currency pairs like EUR/USD, USD/CHF, GBP/JPY) using the MetaTrader 5 trading platform.
What makes The5ers unique is that they offer an instant-funding firm account with the Hyper Growth program. Here you pay a one-time fee and immediately start trading with real money. With every 10% in profits, you are entitled to get an account with the double initial balance. So, if you begin with a 10K account and make 10% in profits, you start trading a 20K account, then 40K, etc., all with the one-time fee you initially paid. The full list of the best instant funding prop firms covers all leading providers.
The profit split depends on the progress you made, starts at 50%, stays for the most part at 75%, but can go as high as 100%. In addition, The5ers pays a monthly salary of up to $10,000 to their most successful traders.
If you prefer to participate in a challenge-based program, consider the High Stakes or Bootcamp offering, where you pay a lower participation fee and get a funded account with the prop firm’s capital once you pass the challenges.
The participation fees are one-time fees without monthly recurring costs. The Bootcamp Program is the leading low-cost challenge in the forex funded accounts industry, with $95 for the 100K and $225 for the 250K challenge. The Hyper Growth Program costs between $260 and $850, and the High-Stakes Program between $39 for the 5K account and $495 for the 100K account.
- The5ers Accounts 5% Off (discount automatically applied)
Please check my newly written The5ers review for more insights and detailed analysis.
4. Trade The Pool: Best Prop Firm for Stocks
Trade The Pool shines where other prop firms lack by being the first stock trading prop firm that enables traders to trade more than 12,000 stocks and ETFs on U.S. stock exchanges (including penny stocks).
Long time the prop trading industry was limited to forex and futures contract trading, with some offering contracts for difference as a substitute for shares. But with Trade The Pool, you can directly trade stocks using the powerful trading platform Trader Evolution, which comes with features such as market scanners, a super dom, market depth, hotkey trading and more.
The company offers accounts based on buying power ranging from a $20K to $260K buying power account, which you begin trading during the evaluation phase. The participation fees are one-time fees without monthly recurring costs. Once you pass the evaluation phase, you start trading the live pool account and start earning money eligible for withdrawal with a profit split of 50/50 to 80/20, depending on the account size.
- Trade The Pool Accounts 5% Off (discount automatically applied)
SurgeTrader is the best forex prop trading firm headquartered in the United States. Users can utilize the well-known MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms for trading activities. In addition, the company provides a proprietary user dashboard with helpful financial visualizations and trading KPIs.
SurgeTrader stands out from its competition in multiple ways:
- Traders start with the audition in a demo environment, and once they reach the 10% profit target, they receive login credentials to a real-money funded account.
- There is no time limit, trade minimum or maximum.
- Positions can be held through the weekend.
- The audition is a one-time fee, but, there is no time limit for the audition or monthly recurring fee.
The funded prop accounts are managed through ASIC-regulated broker EightCap (ASIC=Australian Securities & Investments Commission.)
Besides forex, SurgeTrader supports trading CFD-based indices, cryptos, stocks, and commodities.
All audition fees are one-time fees. There is no recurring fee, and 6 different account sizes are offered.
- $25,000 account = $250
- $50,000 account = $400
- $100,000 account = $700
- $250,000 account = $1,800
- $500,000 account = $3,500
- $1,000,000 account = $6,500
The standard profit share with SurgeTrader is 75%, where traders get paid out 75% of the profits they make, and SurgeTrader keeps 25%. However, with add-on purchases, it is possible to increase the profit split to 90/10.
6. FX2 Funding
FX2 Funding is a prop firm based in the United States that provides funded accounts and puts traders first with the mission to help traders grow wealth. With FX2, traders can follow their preferred trading method, being day trading, using expert advisors, copy trade, trade news, utilizing scalp trading, etc.
The profit split ranges from 75/25 for the first, 80/20 for the second and 85/15 for the third and subsequent payouts, and there are no time limits in the 1-step evaluation process. Once an account gets funded and the first payout is requested, FX2 Funding refunds the evaluation fee with quick payouts after seven days, then every 14 days.
There are five FX2 programs available. The $10k Starter, $25k Intermediate, $50k Professional, $100k Expert account, and $200k Master account with fees ranging from $95 to $925.
No immediately funded account is available, but all accounts follow the 1-step logic where traders must pass the trader evaluation to get funded. Weekend trading is allowed with FX2 Funding, with no minimum trading days.
The maximum drawdown with all accounts is 6%, and the daily drawdown is 4%. In addition, account inactivity of 30 or more days leads to disqualification for funding. The profit target to get funded is 10% by trading according to the rules.
The broker behind FX2 Funding is Eightcap, and while no explicit trading platforms are mentioned, Eightcap typically supports TradingView and MetaTrader platforms.
FTMO is one of the first and best forex prop firms, headquartered in the Czech Republic. Besides forex pairs such as EURUSD, GBPUSD and USDJPY, traders can trade indices, crypto and commodities within their prop account.
FTMO provides its traders with account analysis, customer support, a trading academy and a performance coach. FTMO was the winner of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 awards 4 years in a row since 2019.
The regular profit split is 80% of profits for the trader and 20% for FTMO, but with the scale-up plan, prop accounts it’s possible to increase it to 90/10.
The trading platforms are limited to the MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader platform. However, US citizens can only use the MetaTrader platforms due to regulatory reasons.
The FTMO fee structure is a bit more complex due to the multiple possible account options ranging from about €150 for the normal 10,000 account to €1,080 for the 140,000 account. Something unique is the fact that all participation fees are charged in Euro, independently from your country or chosen prop account currency.
Discounts are currently not available, but last year there was a promo during Black Friday sales.
More Platform Insights: FTMO Review
8. The Funded Trader
The Funded Trader stands out with its website design promoting its offering as The Funding Kingdom. The available challenge are the Standard Challenge, Rapid Challenge, Royal Challenge and Knight Challenge.
The most challenging offered by the prop firm is a 3-step challenge, where you have to prove your skills in 2 separate phases with profit targets of 10% and 5% before you finally get funded with the proprietary trading firm’s capital. The Knight Challenge is the exception, where you reduce the 3 steps to 2 steps for directly getting funded after the first challenge. Instant funding is not available.
There are so many combinations of challenge types (4), risk categories (2) and account sizes available (8) that it’s challenging to cover them briefly, but the cheapest costs $65 and the most expensive $1,879.
9. Apex Trader Funding
The ranger and day trader Darrell Martin founded Apex Trader Funding in 2008 and has grown his community of traders to over 30,000 members in more than 150 countries worldwide.
The company sees its offering as one of the easiest to pass, with the lowest cost and highest contract plans, simultaneously having some of the fewest rules. And indeed, the rules are straightforward.
Their evaluation step consists of a minimum of 7 trading days but without scaling requirements. We’ve also compared the scaling plans of all leading prop firms. You can trade on holidays and during news events with any strategy without drawdown limits.
The trading platforms (NinjaTrader and Tradovate) include free real-time market data for futures contracts and can get more than one account to increase profits and spread risks.
Once a trader makes it to the Paid Performance Accounts, he can keep 100% of the profits of the first $25,000 and then 90% to withdraw.
The monthly fees range from $147 for the 25K account to $657 for the 300K account, and evaluation resets cost $80.
FundedNext is a prop trading firm specializing in funding promising forex traders worldwide with up to $300K in funds to help them earn full-time.
Their statistics indicate that over 45k traders got funded and $44M+ payouts processed.
As typical for forex prop firms, the trading platforms MetaTrader 4 (via Incenteco or 8eightcap) and MetaTrader 5 are used.
As for the funding models, you can choose between a 1-step challenge and a 2-step challenge, where both have different loss limits and profit targets.
While it surely has its benefits to offer such an immense variety of funding options, it also makes it difficult to choose one. There are 3 challenge types, 2 platforms, 3 broker partners, 2 account types, 2 step-differentiators and 6 account sizes to start with a combination of those.
The costs range from $54 for the 6K account to $1,099 for the $200K account, and FundedNext has its operational and registered offices in the UAE, South-East Asia and the United States.
Comparison Table of Some Best Firms for Prop Trading
|Prop Firm||Profit Split||Type||Code|
|Topstep||100% on $5,000 of profits, then 90%||Futures||✅|
|Trade The Pool||50%-80%||Stocks||✅|
|The Funded Trader||80%-90%||Forex||❌|
|Apex Trader Funding||90%-100%||Forex||❌|
Best Prop Trading Firms Summary
Topstep is the highest-paying and best prop trading firm in the US. With Topstep, traders keep 100% of their first $10,000 profits and 90% after that. The tools, educational components and payout history know to convince, and the combination of powerful platforms and reasonable prices make it the perfect offer combined with the 70% discount.
Earn2Trade offers innovative trading concepts for a prop trading firm career at reasonable pricing as the best prop trading firm for beginners. The number of supported trading platforms is comparable to Topstep, and their reputation has also been good for a couple of years.
The5ers is the best forex prop firm. The supported trading platforms are limited to MT4 and MT5, but that’s reasonable for trading the forex market. The payouts, fees, and educational components are a plus.
Trade The Pool is the best stock prop firm with a unique selling proposition that closes the previous gap and now also gives equity traders access to proprietary trading firms.
A background in finance or economics might be advantageous for those looking to enter the world of prop trading, yet it can be a challenge. However, with a clear understanding of prop trading and how these firms operate, traders can have more confidence when making their decisions.
Below I’ve compiled a guide about prop trading, financial instruments, global macro trading, major stock market indices, financial markets in general and general insights into the prop trading space.
Guide: What Is Proprietary Trading
Proprietary trading, also known as prop trading, relates to companies that focus on gaining their firm’s capital by trading their owned funds instead of making money by investing on behalf of their clients.
The Beginning of Prop Trading for Private Investors
Local prop trading was prevalent around the turn of the millennium when electronic trading became more popular among retail traders. At this time, having ultra-high-speed internet connections, low latencies, multi-monitor empowered computers, and high-end trading platforms was yet to be a matter for everyone.
That’s why many retail traders took their car, drove to the city to the prop-firm offices and traded on their trading computers.
Prop Trading Today
For sure, today, things are entirely different. We all have access to the internet, excellent trading platforms, market scanners, tick-based market data and with the rise of the new proprietary trading firms, access to accounts of up to $4 million.
While there are still some local office-based proprietary firms out there, the majority can be found online these days.
The compensation model for prop traders never really changed from the basic idea. As a prop trader, you get paid based on your performance. So the better a trader is, the more money he makes.
Still, the way how to make money changed. While office-based prop traders typically earn a salary plus performance-based compensation in the lower percentage band of the overall profit, these days, prop firms pay out about 75% of the profits to their traders.
That’s possible through scaling effects. Thousands of new traders daily join prop firms and trade as good as they can to earn a funded account.
Is Prop Trading Legit?
There has been an enormous buzz around proprietary trading lately. In 2022 more companies than ever before started offering prop accounts to their clients, pushing the market to never-seen-before highs in terms of supply and demand of prop trading firms.
The legitimacy of prop firms is sometimes questionable, and investors are well-advised to analyze the legitimacy of a prop firm before joining.
The Concept of Prop Firms
About 95% of funded trader programs start with some type of evaluation challenge, where traders have to reach a specific profit target by adhering to the rules like maximum drawdown, permitted trading times, permitted instruments or scaling plans.
As with other trading accounts, you can assume that 75% or more prop traders fail during those evaluation phases, and only the best 25% finally make it to the funded trading account.
Once funded, a trader who makes a profit trading the prop firm’s capital can withdraw a big part of the profits. This way, the prop firm makes money with the monthly or one-time fees their trader participates in their challenges, plus they have income from letting their funded traders trade their firm’s capital.
While the house always wins, it is a win for both sides.
Benefits of Prop Trading
The main benefit of prop trading is the limited risk. The fee that the trader pays to the prop firm is the maximum risk. Still, be aware some less legit prop firms out there have really hefty rule violation fees, which can ruin you. I won’t list them here, but whenever you try to take a shortcut or if something sounds too good to be true, be careful.
Overall, it can be seen this way that a retail trader would typically open an account with, on average, $5,000 for trading or $25,000 for day trading and then lose most of it quickly during the learning phase.
The prop account limits the risk to the participation fee, and from there on, the prop firm takes the risk in case something goes wrong. If a trader fails because he hits the drawdown limit or does not trade by the rules, then the attendance fee might be lost, but the private capital remains intact.
The basic concept of prop trading is a good one because also, in real life, with your own funds, you should start in a simulated environment and only move to real-money trading once successful.
Disadvantages of Prop Trading
The most significant disadvantage of prop trading is the lack of transparency and chaotic rule sets of various companies.
How does it help if you can choose between 5 account types, 10 account sizes and any of them with different rules for getting funded?
I see it this way, the easier to understand the basic concept and the more transparent and easy-to-understand the rules, the better.
Another disadvantage of proprietary trading is that you can become addicted to it because it has some gamification components.
Overall it is the same as trading a regular brokerage account. You have to be goal-oriented, stay disciplined, have extensive knowledge, and know what you do to ensure consistent returns. Otherwise, the success will only be short-lived.