Prop trading firms are enormously popular for a good reason. The best 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.
Best Prop Trading Firms
Specializes in futures trading and funding traders for over 10 years.
- Best Price & Value
- 1 Step Funding
- Profit Split 90%-100%
2nd Best Choice
Futures trader funding, good trading tools and fair payout structure.
- Career Path
- Profit Split 80%
3rd Best Choice
Forex trader funding, opperatinal since 2016.
- Forex Trading
- High Leverage
Topstep is the best prop trading firm for futures 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 The earned money can be withdrawn quickly, within 7 hours on average.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.)70% Off On All Account Sizes
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 $550.50% Off Trader Career Path
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 account that gets directly funded in 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 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.5% Off On All Account Sizes
4. Trade The Pool
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 prop firm 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.5% Off On All Account Sizes
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 prop firm 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, which is good if your trading style includes trading strategies requiring holding positions over the weekend.
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.
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.
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 prop firm 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. You can trade on holidays and during news events with any trading 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.
Best Prop Trading Firms Comparison
|100% on $5,000 of profits, then 90%
|Trade The Pool
|The Funded Trader
|Apex Trader Funding
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.
What Is a Proprietary Trading Firm?
A proprietary trading firm is a privately funded company that uses its own capital to trade in financial markets. Proprietary firms typically specialize in short-term strategies, such as day trading and scalping, and are often called “prop shops.” They are usually privately owned companies that don’t have clients but instead focus on their own investments.
These days, traders can work remotely for prop firms and the profits made are split between the prop trader and the prop firm. One main benefit for the trader is that he only pays a low monthly access fee but does not have to bring in risk capital.
Prop traders use sophisticated computer algorithms and quantitative models to identify profitable opportunities within the market. They may also employ fundamental analysis techniques or a combination of both approaches.
Highly-skilled prop traders are often found at large financial institutions, such as investment banks, hedge funds and mutual funds.
The advantages of joining a prop shop are manifold:
- Access to sophisticated trading technology
- Fast execution of trades, resulting in increased liquidity
- Lower commissions due to reduced overhead costs and special rates
- and the potential for significant profits if traders can make consistently successful trades.
In addition, prop shops give investors greater flexibility when setting up or exiting positions quickly.
Types of Proprietary Trading Firms
Proprietary trading firms may be either independent companies specializing in such activities or larger broker-dealers with more resources.
Independent firms are typically small, privately owned companies focusing solely on proprietary trading activities. They generally have fewer resources than larger broker-dealers. Still, they often provide more specialized services such as research and analysis of the markets or access to advanced software tools for traders.
Broker-dealers are substantial financial establishments that provide a broad selection of services, such as stockbroking, underwriting securities and carrying out trades on behalf of customers.
In addition, these firms usually have more resources, allowing them to offer better customer service and access to more sophisticated products such as derivatives or options contracts.
Independent prop trading firms tend to cater mainly to experienced traders who understand the complexities of the markets and know how to make informed decisions about their investments.
As these firms do not offer traditional investment advice they may require potential customers to pass specific tests to qualify for an account.
The testing process is designed so that only those who meet a certain level of proficiency in terms of understanding risk management strategies, market analysis techniques, etc., will be allowed access to their accounts and liquidity.
With their greater resources available at their disposal, broker-dealer prop trading firms generally provide a more comprehensive range of services than independent ones.
- Research reports from professional analysts covering different sectors within the stock market
- Webinars and online courses for educational purposes
- Margin loans, if needed
- Trade execution capabilities across multiple asset classes
- Technical support when required
- Direct access through dedicated computer terminals connected directly with exchanges worldwide
- Automated systems to expedite order processing times
- Real time quotes from major exchanges around the world
Still, it is more difficult to join a broker-dealer prop firm.
So, both types of proprietary trading firms come with advantages and disadvantages depending on individual needs. Therefore, before investing/trading in stocks/securities, investors and traders should carefully assess their goals and objectives to determine which type of proprietary trading firm is best suited for them.
Understanding the different types of proprietary trading firms is essential for making informed decisions about which prop trading firms to partner with. While it is difficult to join a broker-dealer, joining independent prop firms specialized in remote trading offerings is more common and easier.
How Do Prop Trading Firms Work
The primary purpose of a prop trading firm is to generate profits from successful investments in stocks, options, futures, currencies and other instruments.
The goal is for the firm to be profitable by taking advantage of price movements in these markets through buying low and selling high or shorting high and covering the short position at a low price.
To do this successfully requires an understanding of technical analysis, fundamental analysis and risk management principles, and access to real-time market data feeds.
Prop trading companies are a critical element of the stock market, and comprehending their operation is essential for any investor or trader. With that in mind, it’s also worth exploring what kind of degree may be necessary to become a prop trader.
What Degree Is Needed for Prop Trading
No specific degree is required to become a proprietary trader. However, having an educational background in finance or economics can be beneficial.
A grasp of the stock market and its operations is essential for proprietary traders. In addition, proprietary traders need to understand different trading strategies, risk management techniques, and financial analysis methods to be successful.
Proprietary trading firms typically look for candidates who possess strong analytical skills and the ability to think quickly on their feet. In addition, knowing programming languages such as C++ or Python can also be helpful when creating automated or algorithmic trading systems with API connects.
In addition, a basic understanding of accounting principles is also helpful since traders will often need to monitor finances.
Many prop shops are willing to provide on-the-job training if they find a suitable candidate without industry experience but with other desirable qualities, such as excellent communication abilities and attention to detail.
How Does One Get Started With a Prop Trading Firm?
Before committing to a prop trading firm, prospective traders should weigh their options carefully.
Factors such as
- Monthly recurring fees
- Fees per transaction (commissions + exchange fees)
- Customer service quality + technical support availability
- Track record and reputation of the company
- Number and variety of assets traded
- Minimum account balance requirements
- Order execution speed
- and accuracy
must all be taken into consideration.
Additionally, it is crucial to remember that leveraging may amplify losses if positions go against you, while margin calls requiring extra deposits can occur when equity falls below certain thresholds.
Getting started with a proprietary trading firm can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor for traders and investors. Prop trading firms offer access to capital, technology, and research that many individual traders don’t have access to on their own.
But before you dive in headfirst, it’s essential to understand the basics of prop trading firms, so you know what you’re getting into.
First off, it’s important to understand exactly what a prop trading firm is. A prop trading firm is, per definition, a company that uses its own capital to trade financial instruments such as stocks, options, futures contracts or currencies on behalf of its clients or itself.
Prop trading firms generally hire experienced traders with market expertise and access to advanced technology and data that enable them to make decisions rapidly.
When looking for a suitable prop trading firm, there are several factors worth considering:
- Experience level of the team (who can you learn from)
- Type of investment and trading strategies used (high leverage, high risk vs. low risk)
- Risk management policies (who is in control and who takes the risk)
- Track record and reputation within the industry (do they pay their traders on time)
- Fees the firm charges (one-time fees + recurring fees), etc.
It’s also important to do your due diligence when researching potential firms – read reviews online from other users who have worked with them before signing up. Inquire about their services during the initial consultation to better understand how they run and if it’s suitable for you.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred option then it’s time to apply. Most in-house prop trading firms require applicants to complete an application form that includes details such as background information (education/experience), current financial situation (assets/liabilities) and investment objectives (short-term vs. long-term).
Some may even require additional documents such as bank statements or tax returns depending on where the applicant resides – this varies between countries, so check with your local laws beforehand if necessary.
Even more popular amongst retail traders are online prop firms that make it possible to join for everyone willing to pay a monthly fee for participating in the program.
Those programs typically start with a challenge where the trader has to prove his skills in a paper trading account by trading based on the required trading rules.
Once specific targets are met, the prop firm funds skilled traders and provides access to the prop platforms. The clear benefit of those vendors is that no degree or experience is needed to join.
Finally, once accepted to join, most companies will provide some form of training, including webinars or seminars covering topics like market analysis techniques and risk management strategies.
The onboarding is essential and should help introduce new traders to how things work at their particular firm. Given the proper instruction and direction, it should be possible for most individuals to become successful quickly.
How to Choose the Best Proprietary Trading Firms
Correctly selecting a proprietary trading company is essential for any investor or trader wanting maximum returns. However, it can take time to decide which firm will deliver the most profitable results when so many offer various services, charges, and records.
An excellent way to gauge a firm’s performance is by researching its past results. Investigate their longevity in the market and any earnings they have accrued during that period.
Additionally, ask about any awards or recognition the company has received from industry experts or peers. Gaining insight into the company’s standing within its sector can be done by looking at its longevity, financial gains, and any accolades it may have garnered.
Before committing to a firm, research the various fees they charge for their services and products. In addition to monthly subscription fees and commissions charged on trades, there may also be additional charges, such as account maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, that need to be taken into consideration when comparing firms’ offerings side by side.
For optimal customer service, it is vital to ascertain the availability of knowledgeable personnel who can promptly and precisely respond to inquiries. Ask potential firms about customer service policies, including response times and support options.
Finally, remember that no matter how good a particular proprietary trading firm might look on paper, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. So ensure you feel comfortable with the people behind the scenes before committing yourself financially.
Choosing the right proprietary trading firm is a critical decision that can have long-term implications for your success in day trading and investing.
It is easy for online businesses to create a well-looking website with glamorous pictures of successful-looking people. But go the extra mile, check the history of the company online, find the company information on the site, the management team and insights about the payouts to traders. Also, ensure that the payment processing provider they offer works in your region.
How would you feel when you request a payout of your first $10,000, and it turns out that the prop shop is unreliable or that the payouts don’t work in your region? But remember, you start trading to win like professional traders, manage risk, and get your payout!
Benefits of Joining a Proprietary Trading Firm?
Working with a proprietary trading firm can provide traders with several advantages, including access to capital, technology, and risk management tools.
Market Accessibility for Undercapitalized Traders
In the U.S., many day traders are held back by various regulations from actively trading the markets. Bringing in $25,000 of risk capital is a huge step and many don’t have that capital freely available to trade.
For futures and forex trading, the capital requirements are not that high, but still, how much can one make trading one S&P 500 E-mini contract in a small account? A funded account from a trading firm can solve that problem since that company takes the risk, and the trader only pays a low monthly fee to join.
The managed account sizes typically start in the $10,000 to $25,000 range but can go as high as $400,000 for the best prop traders.
Availability of Multiple Trading Platforms
Prop firms provide their traders with multiple platforms, which work best for the assets they allow to trade. For example, forex prop trading firms typically provide access to MetaTrader, while future prop trading firms often work with Finamark or a white-labeled platform to execute future contract trades fast.
Everything starts small, and so does the prop trader career. Of course, the more success a prop trader brings to the prop firm, the more the account size grows. But the scaling opportunity is not limited to managing a higher account with one firm. It is also possible to scale opportunities by joining multiple prop first trading assets in different exchanges.
Access to Capital
Proprietary trading firms offer traders access to large amounts of capital they may not be able to obtain independently. This allows them to trade larger positions than they would otherwise be able to do without the backing of a prop firm. In addition, prop firms often have ties to banking and other financial entities, granting them access to prices not available on the open market.
Prop trading firms also typically provide their traders with advanced technology solutions such as high-speed data feeds and sophisticated analytics software. With access to cutting-edge technology, prop traders can leverage real-time market data and analytics for more informed decisions, enabling them to stay ahead of the competition.
Trades joining prop firms get educated via online channels and sometimes even locally. These traders learn risk mitigation tactics such as stop-loss orders, portfolio diversification strategies and hedging can be employed by prop trading firms to help traders protect their investments from unexpected market movements.
Traders also learn the importance of diversifying a portfolio across different asset classes, which helps reduce exposure to any particular type of investment or sector of the economy.