There are a lot of advantages to joining a good proprietary trading firm. You can trade someone else’s capital, walk away from losses, access premium trading platforms, and receive education and guidance from successful traders.
The best proprietary trading firms will provide you with all of these benefits and then some.
The worst prop firms will charge you a substantial monthly fee and would rather bleed you dry with fees than actually see you succeed. Unfortunately, there are plenty of prop trading firms like this who will make enticing but ultimately empty pitches in order to lure you in.
The bottom line is that you will not succeed if you don’t choose the right proprietary trading firm.
Before you begin
As a newcomer to the prop trading world, you aren’t expected to know everything. However, it is paramount to your success that you have substantial knowledge of the market or markets you plan to trade in and a good idea of what type of trading strategy you’d like to employ.
Good prop trading firms will offer guidance, but they all charge some sort of one-time start-up fee or a recurring monthly fee, so it’s best to know exactly how and what you plan to trade before you sign up.
Once you have a deep understanding of your market, it’s time to find a proprietary trading firm that will give you the best chance to succeed.
|BEST NO EVALUATION||BEST FOR FUTURES||BEST OVERALL PROP FIRM||BEST FOR STOCKS||BEST FOR FOREX|
|Firm||The 5%ers||Topstep||FTMO||Lux Trading||BluFX|
|$6K – €235|
$10K – €385
$20K – €745
|$50K – $165|
$100K – $325
$150K – $375
|$10K – €155|
$25K – €250
$50K – €345
$100 K – €540
$200 K– €1080
|$5K – £299|
$10K – £399
$15K – £499
|$25K – £99|
$50K – £249
|Current Discount||Click this link for 20% off!||Click this link for 10% off!|
Trade real money immediately & keep 50% of the profits
Meet 6% profit target to get 4x your initial account balance.
No restrictions on trading styles
Leverage 1:30 for Aggressive Accounts
Equity stopout level set at 4% below initial account balance
|Keep 100% of your first $5,000 in profits; 80% thereafter|
Complete two-step evaluation in as few as eight trading days
6% profit target, $1,000 daily loss limit, trailing max drawdown $2,000 for $50K evaluation
Offers funded accounts for both forex and futures
|80% profit split to start, scales up to 90%|
Trade everything from forex to stocks to crypto
Scale-up max of $2 million per trader
Two-step evaluation – Step 1: 10% profit target, 10% max loss limit, max daily loss 5% limit. 5% profit target in Step 2.
Full refund of fees upon passing Challenge
|Trade forex, equities, bonds, crypto, more|
Rapid scaling – $15K to $2.5 million in just 5 stages
65% profit split starts during 2nd evaluation stage
6% profit target, 4% max relative drawdown, no time limit for evaluation
Pass evaluation get 10x your initial balance
Full fee refund after passing first evaluation
|No evaluation! No demo accounts! Immediate funding up to $50,000|
50/50 profit split
No daily loss limits; 10% maximum drawdown
Trade 29 major & minor currency pairs + gold
Make weekly profit withdrawals
Hit 10% profit to scale Pro Accounts up to $1 million
|Get Started||Start Trading|
with The 5ers
|Start Trading with FTMO||Start Trading|
|Start Trading with BluFX|
My Top Pick: FTMO – 9/10 (Best prop trading firm for beginners)
FTMO does everything they can to ensure the success of new traders, from providing the best educational resources, to top-of-the-line trading platforms, to substantial trader support.
First things first, when choosing a prop trading firm, you have to find a company you can trust. FTMO is that company. They have more than 10,000 traders worldwide and their reputation is impeccable. They issue timely, accurate profit payouts and they have an outstanding customer service team.
As a newcomer to proprietary trading firms, you should pay special attention to the educational resources provided. In this category, FTMO is one of the industry leaders.
Each FTMO trader has access to a series of apps that record, monitor, and analyze your every trade. A mentoring app also allows you to improve your discipline by comparing your trades to strategic parameters that you set.
Access to performance coaches is also part of the FTMO program. These coaches focus on the critical role that psychology plays in trading. Even the most experienced traders can let emotions get in the way of executing their strategy, and the psychological aspect of trading is often the most difficult to master for new traders. FTMO is there to help.
New traders and experienced prop traders alike love FTMO’s profit payout and scaling plan, which allows you to withdraw profits and grow your account at the same time. Payouts start at 80% of profits and can reach 90% if you continue to meet profit targets, plus your account can grow up to $2 million in capital, even if you withdraw your profits.
Initial fees are also quite low as €155 will provide you with $10,000 funding capital. More capital is more expensive, of course, with a maximum initial funding capital of $200,000 costing €1,080. Unlike some other prop trading firms, FTMO will refund your initial fee with your first profit split if you pass the evaluation stages.
Finally, FTMO has the widest range of tradable assets in the business. Most proprietary trading firms cater only to forex traders, but FTMO allows trading in forex, commodities, indices, crypto, stocks, bonds, and more. They also don’t limit trading strategies, so long as your trades conform to FTMO account rules.
I’m sure you’re eager to get started as a funded trader, so going through FTMO’s two-stage evaluation may seem like an impediment to your ultimate goal. I’d argue the opposite. The evaluation period is an ideal time for you to test your strategy and familiarize yourself with your trading platform, which will put you in a better position to have long term success. But of course I get those traders who are chomping at the bit.
It may take up to 90 calendar days to complete your evaluation, but you can also do it much more quickly if you meet your profit objectives earlier. In fact, each stage requires only 10 trading days each if you meet or exceed the established goals. That means if all goes well you’ll pass your evaluation after just 20 trading days and become an FTMO trader.
The educational apps are fairly sophisticated so, if you are not technically savvy, you may not receive their full benefit. The performance coaches and customer service department do help in that regard, but the more you can glean from the trading apps, the better.
FTMO offers cheap access to trading capital, tremendous educational resources, and performance coaches, all while paying up to 90% of trading profits. They are the most popular proprietary trading firm for a reason.
If you’re new to proprietary trading and want to start your career off with the best, open an account with FTMO today.
Runner Up: The 5%ers – 8/10 (Forex only, instant funding)
The 5%ers are a great option for newcomers as they actually allow you to keep a percentage of any profits you may make during your evaluation.
The 5%ers are a very reputable proprietary trading firm that offers one of the most trader-friendly evaluation periods in the industry. They start you off with a small amount of real capital immediately and allow you to keep 50% of your profits even though you have not yet passed your evaluation.
For example, if you choose the $24,000 low-risk account, the 5%ers will instantly give you $6,000 of capital to invest. If you reach your 6% net profit goal, you will pass the evaluation period and receive the full $24,000 funding. Plus you get a check for 50% of the profits you earned on that initial $6,000 funding capital.
From there, your account will be doubled every time you meet profit goals (set at 10% for low risk accounts) within a certain time frame all the way up to a maximum funding amount of $1.28 million.
The evaluation period and rapid growth plan are enough to make the 5%ers an intriguing option for beginners, but they also offer a great education program. Amongst their many available resources they have a particularly valuable introduction to prop trading course that features 22 lessons. They also offer webinars, live events, various workshops, and an active online trading community giving you access to experienced forex traders.
The 5%ers also do not put any restrictions whatsoever on trading styles although they are limited to forex trading.
The biggest drawback to the 5%ers is their profit splitting. Although they begin sharing profits in the evaluation phase much sooner than FTMO does, they cap trader profits at 50%. That’s 30% less than FTMO’s base payout percentage and the 5%ers don’t provide an opportunity to increase your percentage based on performance.
The argument could be made that an even profit split gives the 5%ers a much bigger incentive to see you succeed, and that’s probably true, but it is hard to think about leaving 30-40% of your profits on the table.
The 5%ers also charge a higher one-time fee. An account with $10,000 of funding capital costs €155 with FTMO, but €385 with the 5%ers. Again, the 5%ers actually allow you to trade real money and earn real profits from the get-go, while your initial fee with FTMO only covers entrance into their two-stage evaluation period. Still, that’s more than double the cost.
The last big knock on the 5ers is that they only allow forex trading. This is true of probably 80-90% of proprietary trading firms, but that doesn’t make it any less limiting if you wish to trade other assets.
If you’re exclusively interested in trading forex, there’s a lot to love about the 5%ers educational programs and trading community as well as their profit sharing from day one of the evaluation phase.
You’ll have to decide if these benefits outweigh profit payouts that are 30% less than FTMO’s base rate. If you want to be funded immediately and start earning 50% of your trading profits today, visit the 5%ers.
#3: City Traders Imperium – 7/10 (Forex Only, Instant Funding)
City Traders Imperium is a proprietary trading firm specializing in forex that offers good educational programs, a number of account options and an escalating profit payout scale.
City Traders Imperium puts a big emphasis on the educational aspect of their funded account program. In particular, they’ve dedicated significant resources towards their Mastermind Program which promises to fit five years of trading experience into a one-year course.
Too good to be true? Perhaps, but the course teaches some invaluable trading lessons regarding psychology, risk management, and specific strategies. The goal of the program is to build an online community that mimics the mentoring and exchange of knowledge that used to occur on physical trading desks.
They don’t quite succeed, but you can’t argue with City Traders’ commitment towards education. Their stated goal is to create a “global army of profitable traders.”
The education program does seem to be yielding some results as City Traders claim most traders pass their evaluation within one to three months.
City Traders recently boosted their profit payouts and now pay 50% on profits earned during your evaluation phase, 60% once you’ve graduated to their portfolio management phase, and 70% for their top traders.
Top traders are those who continuously meet their profit targets until their account is scaled up to the $2 million maximum.
City Traders also offers a number of account options, so you should be able to find one that meets your budget and specific needs. Accounts with evaluation offer funding from $2,500 up to $17,500 for one-time fees that are a little more expensive than what’s offered by the 5%ers.
You can also opt for instant funding with accounts up to $70,000, but they are expensive. For the $70K account, you’ll end up paying more than £3,000.
City Traders Imperium have made a lot of strides recently to make them more attractive to experienced traders and newcomers alike, but they still have some work to do.
They heavily promote the 70% profit payout, but that only applies to their very best traders and is still less than what FTMO offers to everyone.
City Traders is also somewhat limited in the financial instruments available for trade. They specialize in forex but have recently added gold trading to the evaluation phase and portfolio managers are also allowed to trade indices.
As much as I love their commitment to education, I still prefer the guidance you get from the 5%ers, although City Traders is rapidly closing the gap.
Finally, City Traders is expensive. A $10,000 account will cost you $250 at FTMO, €385 with the 5%ers, and £379 with the City Traders. Obviously, exchange rates are in constant flux but, as I write this, current rates put City Traders at double the price of FTMO and 15% higher than the 5%ers.
There’s no doubt that City Traders Imperium is a proprietary trading firm moving in the right direction. As they evolve, they are making a great investment in trader education, their prices are getting more competitive, and they’re boosting profit payouts. For the time being, however, in my book, they remain too expensive for what they offer.
If you want to sign up with one of the best educational prop trading firms in the business and don’t mind paying a premium price, check out City Traders Imperium here.
#4: Funded Academy
Funded Academy is a very new proprietary trading company so it’s difficult to pass full judgment on them when they lack a significant track record. The early returns are very good, however, and the traders who have taken the plunge have raved about their trader support.
Funded Academy has a two-stage evaluation process, but their profit targets aren’t as severe as they are with the evaluations at other proprietary trading firms. The Stage 2 profit target is only 4% over 60 days, after an 8% target during the initial 30 days. That’s about 2% less for both stages than is typical in the prop firm industry. For beginners, that means a much easier road to getting a fully funded trading account.
Also great for beginners is that they allow unlimited free retakes should you stay within the trading rules and maintain a profit but fall short of the 8% or 4% target.
Funded Academy has an excellent scaling plan, doubling your account if you meet profit targets all the way up to $2 million, and they offer an 80% profit split, which is amongst the very best in the industry.
They also offer more options as far as tradable assets go than your typical prop firm. Currently, traders can trade forex, commodities, indices, crypto, and bonds. With a few exceptions, they also don’t limit trading strategies.
Funded Academy is also one of the most affordable remote prop trading firms you’ll find. A $50,000 funded account is just $280 should you pass the evaluation stages. They also offer an option to use your own capital, but the specifics are not yet on their website.
Give them some time and Funded Academy could easily become my favorite prop firm for beginners and professional traders. There is a lot to love about their affordability, profit targets, trader support, and scaling plan. There’s just not enough to go on yet.
As I’m writing this, they’ve only paid out $15,000 in profits and even their website is a work in progress. It’s impossible to judge their educational programs because they do not yet seem fully realized.
I love what Funded Academy is trying to do, but they don’t have a long enough track record for me to say with full confidence that they should be the choice for your first prop trading firm.
The Bottom Line
As a newcomer to the world of proprietary trading, you have to be very careful what prop trading firm you choose. Many are better suited for seasoned traders and there are some out there that take advantage of the inexperienced.
Before you sign up for any funded trading account, make sure you are with a trading firm that invests in your success with mentoring and education programs, is transparent regarding fees and trading parameters, supports your trading style, and won’t overcharge you for access to their capital.
For most traders, newcomers, and veterans alike, FTMO checks all of these boxes. They also offer the highest profit-sharing percentage in the industry, an excellent scaling plan, access to a number of markets including crypto, and they’re affordable.
If you’re confident in your trading strategy, well-versed in your chosen market and just need sufficient capital to realize your financial dreams, sign up with FTMO today.
I used almost the same methodology for this review as I did for my article listing the overall best prop trading firms. I discuss that methodology in more detail here.
The difference is that when considering the best prop firms for beginners, I put far more weight on the educational resources and customer service departments. Those are important factors for any trader to consider, but far more important to newcomers to the prop trading world.
I ranked the above prop trading firms according to the following seven factors:
Factor 1: Educational Resources
Clearly this is one of the most important factors for those new to prop trading. Even if you have significant trading experience, there’s still a lot to learn about the intricacies of trading with a prop firm.
A really good prop firm will offer clear instructions on the rules specific to their funded accounts and will help teach you how to manage risk according to their parameters. A firm that doesn’t spend a lot of time teaching you these basics is not interested in your long term success.
Beyond that is the general market education. Even the most seasoned traders need to stay up to date on ever-evolving markets. Good prop firms will provide timely information on current market conditions, alert you to potential trading opportunities and generally help you become a more informed trader.
For the purposes of this ranking list, I awarded the highest points to those firms who have proven through investment that they care about trader education.
Factor 2: Customer service
An experienced trader probably won’t have much contact with a prop firm’s customer service department, but as a newcomer, a good customer service team can be invaluable.
You can be a very profitable trader but still need some help getting started as a prop trader. Prop trading comes with its own set of rules, and you need to master those rules to be successful. Having a knowledgeable, responsive customer service team to help answer your questions before you make critical mistakes can make a huge difference.
A good customer service department is also a good indicator that a prop firm is truly invested in your long term success.
Factor 3: Trading parameters
This is a very important factor for beginning traders because it is where most beginners get tripped up. If you violate trading parameters, you often lose access to your funded account and have to start over from the beginning. That can mean new fees and new evaluation periods.
Since they provide the capital, prop firms are very concerned about limiting the risks you take with their money.
They do this by making you close positions at the end of every trading day, prohibiting you from trading news such as the release of unemployment data, and other tactics. You’ll also face loss limits, both daily and overall. Should you exceed those limits your account will probably be cancelled.
Some trading strategies may also be prohibited, and you’ll have to use stop loss orders on every trade.
I also put profit targets in this category as different prop firms provide different targets you have to meet in order to graduate from your evaluation period or scale up to a larger account size. Typically you’re expected to grow your account 8-10% in order to move on. Obviously lower profit targets make life considerably easier, especially for beginning prop traders.
For the purposes of my rankings, I gave the highest scores to prop firms that most clearly disclosed their trading parameters and put as few restrictions on trading as possible. I also awarded extra points to those firms that had lower profit targets.
Factor 4: Profit splits
Profit split percentages are probably the first thing any trader looks at. I understand that, and for experienced traders that’s the first thing I’d look at too.
It’s not as important for beginning traders, however, because you need to make a profit before you can split a profit. It is better to get 50% of something than 80% of nothing.
That doesn’t mean you should just ignore the profit splits all together. Of course it’s still an important factor in your decision. Prop firms are letting you use their capital, so they deserve a cut of your profits, but obviously the more you can keep for yourself the better.
Factor 5: Scaling opportunities
As you move from being a new prop trader to a successful prop trader, most firms will give you access to more and more capital. Some firms scale you up faster than others, and some firms also improve your profit splits as you continue to meet your trading objectives.
Just about every prop firm has a splashy banner on their website advertising the largest account size you can obtain. “Trade up to $2 million of our money!” It is extremely difficult to maintain consistent enough profits to graduate all the way to this level, so I don’t put a lot of stock in the top-end scaling.
I’m much more interested in how quickly each firm allows you to move up and how easy they make it to do so.
Factor 6: Affordability / Value
This is another critical factor for beginners, since you don’t want to be wasting your money if it becomes pretty obvious early on that prop trading isn’t for you. At the same time, you don’t want to select a super cheap firm based on price alone if they don’t give you a good chance to succeed. The perfect prop firm offers premium services at a reasonable price.
As a general rule, I prefer one-time fees to monthly fees. Even low monthly fees add up over time, and I feel like impending monthly fees make me more aggressive than I should be. Like I have to succeed or fail before my next payment.
Factor 7: Tradable assets
As a newcomer, I strongly urge you to focus on one particular market niche and really build up a level of expertise. I’ve known a lot of successful traders who have done exactly that. Some just choose one currency pair for example, and don’t allow themselves to be distracted by anything else.
That said, I still prefer prop firms that offer a lot of tradable assets. It’s impossible to predict the future, and I don’t want to have to start over with a new prop firm because I’ve decided to start trading a new asset.
I don’t like to sugarcoat things—making it as a prop trader is a challenging endeavor. You can make it a lot easier on yourself by doing your homework, understanding the rules and choosing the prop firm that’s best for you.
I truly hope my rankings have helped you make this important choice and that prop trading is your path to financial freedom.
If you’re ready to get started and you want to go with my pick for the prop firm that gives you the best chance to succeed, check out FTMO here.