BEST PROP TRADING FIRMS IN 2022: REVIEWED, RANKED, AND COMPARED
For most of Wall Street’s history, proprietary trading was the realm of Ivy Leaguers on the trading desks of the big banks. But the big banks blew it in a big way, causing the 2008 financial crisis and their prop trading desks were regulated out of existence.
Now, a new type of prop trading firm has emerged and they’re willing to fund anyone who can demonstrate that they know how to make money in the market. This is an incredible opportunity for skilled traders.
To make sure you end up with the right firm, I’ve reviewed, compared, and ranked the top 6 prop trading firms. Here’s what I found:
Table of Contents
My Top Pick: FTMO – 9.1/10 (Best Overall Proprietary Trading Firm)
FTMO lets you trade just about any financial instrument out there, and they offer the best profit splits in the business. With more than 10,000 traders worldwide, they are the most popular prop trading firm in the world.
FTMO has a great reputation for good reason. You won’t find a single complaint about them not paying out on time or making accounting mistakes. You will get every cent that you earn. With some of the bottom feeders in this industry, that is not always the case.
Profit splitting starts at 80% but operates on a sliding scale, meaning that the truly elite traders keep up to 90% of the profits, which is highest in the industry.
They also offer great scaling opportunities. After passing the two-stage evaluation process, traders can have access to up to $400,000 and if you generate a 10% net profit or higher over a certain time period, FTMO will incrementally raise your funding to a maximum of $2 million. FTMO knows that it takes money to make money and they fund their traders accordingly.
FTMO also allows its traders access to almost every financial market you can think of. If you’ve mastered a particular market, they’ll let you trade it, from forex to futures to metals to equities. Many prop trading firms are only focused on very particular markets, but FTMO gives you the freedom to trade what you want.
They also have one of the most professional trading platforms in the industry and excellent educational resources, mostly due to their investment in new trade tracking technology. FTMO traders are given access to a series of apps that track your trading tendencies and offer real-time feedback.
One of the things that best exemplifies FTMO’s commitment to helping their traders is that they employ trained psychologists. The psychological aspects of trading are well known, and yet FTMO is one of the few prop firms that actually offers support in this critical area.
Evaluation parameters are pretty standard, although they’ve made a recent concession to make things easier. Max losses are $1,000 on a $10,000 account and your profit targets are 10% over 10 trading days in Step 1, but they’ve cut the Step 2 target to 5%, which obviously takes a lot of the pressure off.
Of all the reputable prop firms, FTMO comes in as one of the most affordable. Current prices start at just €155 for a $10,000 funded account. This is very cheap, and this one-time fee is fully refunded should you pass the two-step evaluation process.
If you are eager to get started, you may be put off by the length of FTMO’s two-step evaluation period. FTMO’s evaluation period is close to the industry standard, but newer prop firms like DT4X offer funded accounts without an evaluation, which makes FTMO’s process seem awfully slow.
FTMO also puts you on a clock. You have 30 days to meet your profit objectives to graduate to Step 2 and then you’re given 60 days to make 5% profit and graduate from Step 2 to your funded account. If you can’t make your required profits within that time frame, you lose your one-time fee and have to start over.
The flipside of having a limited timeframe is that FTMO doesn’t charge you any recurring monthly fees. If you fail, you fail quickly and cheaply, hopefully with a little extra trading acumen for your trouble.
Some traders are turned off by the fact that FTMO doesn’t actually let you trade real money. That’s right, even if you earn a funded account, you’ll be making virtual trades. FTMO says that the demo trades you’re making are directly connected to their real account, but they are a little vague about whether or not they’re making all of your trades. I have no idea, but I’d suspect they are not.
Personally, this doesn’t make such a big difference to me. I’m still getting paid out on my virtual trades as if they were real, so what of it? I don’t really care if FTMO is making money off my strategy or not, so long as I am.
Using “dummy” accounts does, however, bring up the question of how dedicated FTMO is to helping their traders. If they don’t actually profit when their traders profit, what’s their incentive to guide you along?
I’d argue, however, that the amount of money FTMO has spent developing their training programs and trade tracking apps proves their dedication to helping traders succeed.
More than a few traders have also complained that FTMO’s educational resources are targeted toward new traders, and don’t offer a whole lot to those with some experience. It’s true, if you’re a seasoned trader you won’t get much out of FTMO’s webinars, but you can still learn a great deal from their suite of apps.
FTMO is one of the most popular, transparent, and supportive proprietary trading firms you’re going to find and their profit splits are second to none. There’s never been a better time to start your evaluation and eventually join the thousands of traders who have made great money trading with FTMO.
#2: DT4X Trader – 8.4/10 (Best Firm Without an Evaluation Period)
DT4X Trader offers almost instant funding for forex traders. No evaluation. No verification. No tests. You can start trading up to $50,000 almost immediately.
To many traders, one of the best aspects of the DT4X Trader program is the lack of an evaluation period. If you are exceedingly confident in your strategy and don’t feel the need for a trial period, you can begin trading with DT4X money within a matter of days.
Most prop firms that offer instant funding also take a much higher share of your profits, but DT4X is surprisingly generous in that regard. DT4X pays out 60%, when you won’t do better than 50% elsewhere.
You can choose between three levels of starting capital, currently $10K, $25K and $50K. All you have to do is register and pay a one-time fee to get started. Those fees start at just $275, which is far less than you’d pay with most prop firms that offer instant funding.
By way of comparison, City Traders Imperium offers an instantly funded $50K account for £2,199. DT4X offers the same amount of capital for $575, one sixth of the price. That’s a fantastic bargain.
Unlike FTMO, DT4X Trader limits the financial markets you can access to foreign exchange pairs, gold and silver but this limited scope allows them to provide traders with very focused educational and trading resources. More than 30 video tutorials cover everything from the basics of forex to the complexities of various technical trading methods. There’s also numerous blog posts specific to various currency pairs and current market conditions.
All traders are also enrolled in an account growth program, which automatically doubles the size of your available capital every time you meet or exceed profit goals. If you continue to meet your targets, DT4X will scale up your account to a maximum of $1.2 million.
They also help traders scale more quickly by allowing any profits that you withdraw to remain in your account virtually.
Another advantage of the instant funding model that DT4X uses is that you are not obligated to meet any profit targets. Of course if you don’t make any profits you won’t be making any money, but you won’t lose your account like you might with other firms.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, although DT4X is a relatively new company, they have a great online reputation with many traders sharing details of payments received. DT4X’s overall reviews are exemplary and they currently have an “Excellent” rating from Trustpilot.
As mentioned above, part of the trade-off of instant funding is that DT4X takes more off the top than FTMO or similar firms that require an evaluation. DT4X only pays out 60% as compared with 80%. That’s reasonable because without an evaluation period DT4X is assuming more of the risk—clearly they should also get more of the rewards.
DT4X never requires you to meet profit targets to maintain your account, but they do require at least a 5% profit in order for you to make a withdrawal, and you can only make withdrawals once a month. Five percent isn’t a high bar for good traders but it can be frustrating if you’re at 4% and have to wait an extra month to make that extra percentage point to get your earnings.
DT4X also has some pretty tough trading parameters, although that is to be expected with the instant funding model. If you sign up for the $10,000 account, your max loss is a mere $500. That’s pretty easy to violate. The max loss is obviously higher with larger accounts, so I suggest signing up for at least the $25,000 account which has a max loss of $1,250.
I’m not completely dedicate to forex, so the limited markets available for trading with DT4X is also a negative to me. I don’t believe a trader should spread their cash over too many markets, and DT4X does forex very well, but personally I would prefer some more options.
If you specialize in forex and want up to $50K to invest without any sort of evaluation period, DT4X is a trustworthy option. They are lightening quick with their funding, but that expediency does come with a few drawbacks, like a 60% profit split. Still, if you want to get in the market today, they are no better options. To start your forex trading immediately, go to DT4X trader here.
#3: Topstep Forex – 8.1/10 (Best Current Promotion)
Topstep has always had a stellar reputation, phenomenal trader support, and very generous payouts. Thanks to a current promotion, they’ve also become one of best bargains in the business.
During their 10 years in the prop trading business, Topstep has become a trader favorite for a number of good reasons. They fund thousands of traders and pay out millions of dollars in trading profits every year.
The principal reason for their popularity, I suspect, is that they are very generous with their profit payouts. Very generous. In fact, you keep 100% of your first $5,000 in profits. After you squirrel that away, they’ll still give you 80% of your profits going forward, which is close to the top payout percentage in the industry.
Profit percentages don’t mean a whole lot if you’re not making any money, but Topstep offers an incredibly knowledgeable customer service team along with a slew of educational resources to guide you along.
When you sign up with Topstep, you’ll begin with a two-step evaluation process known as the Trader Combine. Both steps can be completed in as few as 15 trading days if all goes well.
Step 1 requires a minimum of five trading days and focuses on your ability to make profits under relaxed trading parameters. To pass, you have to make a $2,000 profit on an account with buying power of $200,000 while staying above a $1,300 weekly loss limit.
If you pass Step 1, Step 2 is more focused on testing your risk-management skills over a longer time period. Your profit target remains the same, but your weekly loss limit is cut in half and you have to trade at least 10 days.
Unlike most prop trading firms, Topstep doesn’t put you on a clock. You can take as long as you need to meet your profit targets so long as you don’t hit your loss limits. It should be noted that you will continue to pay your monthly fee so long as you’re in the Trader Combine. Once you’re confirmed as a funded trader, the monthly fees go away.
Topstep is one of the best values in the industry, particularly with the current bargain they’re offering my readers. With the 20% discount that you can claim by following this link, you can start proving your trading skills in the Combine for just $100/month. I can’t recall a better deal for such a renowned prop firm.
As a US-based trader, I also appreciate the fact that Topstep is headquartered in Chicago, so there’s no currency conversion involved when paying fees, like there is with a lot of other prop firms.
If you’re on the fence about funded trading or trading in general, joining Topstep is the cheapest way to see what you’re made of. The fact that you can find out with one of the most respected firms in the industry is an amazing opportunity you shouldn’t pass up.
Topstep offers funded trading programs in both futures and forex, but the layout of their website can make it difficult to understand which rules apply to which programs. When it comes to a prop firm’s trading rules, I want everything to be crystal clear. Fortunately, they have one of the best customer service departments in the industry to answer any lingering questions.
I’m also not in love with the monthly fees. In general, I prefer prop firms that charge one-time setup fees. Monthly fees can add up pretty quickly if the market isn’t cooperating and you don’t find the trading opportunities you’re seeking.
On the other hand, with the current promotion, if you complete the Trading Combine in one month and become a funded trader, you’ve made a tremendous deal. Even if it takes you two or three months, you’re paying less than you would for a funded account at a lot of other prop firms.
Topstep also has a great mentoring program with a ton of educational resources available at the click of a mouse; however, their really amazing one-on-one training sessions cost extra. I know it is not realistic to offer such individual attention to every single trader, but I’m not a big fan of add-on fees.
Speaking of fees, most prop firms kick you back to square one after one violation, but Topstep let’s you hit reset and start over at the same level — for a fee. Depending on your account size, it will cost you $89 or more to stay at your same level and pretend your mistake never happened. I understand they have to charge something or traders would be overly aggressive knowing they have free do-overs, but I think that’s a little pricey.
Topstep is one of the premier prop trading firms in the world, with a proven track record of big payouts, outstanding trader support, and fair trading parameters. At the moment, they’re also a great bargain, so sign up now to take your first step toward a potentially lucrative prop trading career.
#4: The 5%ers – 7.3/10 (Only Forex, Instant Funding)
The 5%ers is a very highly regarded proprietary trading firm specializing in forex that offers instant funding, but pays out only 50% of your profits.
Like Topstep, the 5%ers has a stellar reputation for working hard to help educate traders and making timely and accurate payouts.
What separates the 5%ers from others is that they have one of the best evaluation processes in the prop trading business. Yes, all traders new to the 5%ers have to go to an evaluation, but their process is unique. The 5%ers evaluate you while you are trading real money and earning real profits, if you’re successful.
That means you can begin trading immediately with up to $20,000 of the firm’s capital. If you meet your profit objectives during this time, you’ll split the profits 50/50, your Level 1 account will be closed, and you will become a fully funded trader with 4x your initial capital.
Once you become fully funded, the 5%ers will increase your trading capital faster than just about any proprietary trading firm out there. Every time you hit a profit objective, they will double your capital, all the way up to a maximum of $1.28 million.
The 5%ers are also renowned for their trader assistance, trader community and overall trader support, which is mentioned in almost every online review you can find.
One of the reasons why the 5%ers invest so much money in trader support is that they are deeply invested in your success. How deeply? They split profits evenly with the trader. That’s right, you only keep 50% of your profits, rather than the 70% offered by FTMO.
In comparison with other prop firms, 50% profit sharing is definitely on the low end of the spectrum.
Again, this is another prop trading firm that only allows trading in forex, so if you have any desire to trade other markets, you’d need a separate account with a different company.
Another drawback of the 5%ers is that they limit the amount of leverage you can employ to 1:6 for low risk accounts and 1:30 for aggressive accounts. Yes, the 5%ers scale you up quickly, but your money doesn’t go quite as far if your leverage is so limited.
This is probably nitpicking a bit, but seeking out the “%” sign every time you type the company’s true name is also pretty annoying. If they paid a higher percentage, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to look past it, though.
As much as I love the 5%ers approach to evaluation, their trader support and how quickly they double your capital, the profit payout of only 50% is tough for me to overlook. After you’ve taken a hard look at their trading platform and support and education services, decide if you think it’s worth 50% of your profits. If you think it is, head to the 5%ers today.
#5: City Traders Imperium
City Traders Imperium has come a long way in recent months to make their prop firm more attractive to experienced traders. They’ve lowered one-time evaluation fees to a point more in line with that of other top prop firms, they now offer up to 70% profit sharing, and will fund top traders up to $4 million.
They also boast the lowest profit target in the industry and claim that most traders pass their evaluation period in between one to three months.
Things don’t look quite so rosy when you look at the fine print, however. The $4 million is broken down into a maximum of $2 million per trading account, meaning you’d have to have two separate accounts to achieve the $4 million mark.
Profit sharing is only 50% during the evaluation phase, goes up to 60% when you’ve reached the portfolio management phase, and only actually hits 70% if you reach the $2 million funding level. In other words, only the very best traders get the best rewards.
The financial instruments permitted for trading by City Traders are also somewhat limited. During the evaluation phase, you are allowed to trade forex pairs and gold and once you graduate to the portfolio management phase you can add indices to the mix.
City Traders also allows you to bypass the evaluation period entirely and move right into a funded trading account, but it will cost you. They will fund you $20,000 with a max leverage of 1:100 if you put up a one-time fee of £999. For £3,099, you can get $70,000
City Traders Imperium puts in quite an effort on the educational front, claiming to have the “world’s best learning platform.” They offer several training options, both to learn general trading practices and specific strategies, as well as a YouTube channel that publishes a daily live look at the forex market.
I don’t think City Traders Imperium is quite at the level of FTMO yet, but they definitely seem to be putting a lot of effort into improving their funded trading program, and I’m excited to see if they push themselves further to compete with the best of the best.
If you’d like to try out one of the industry’s best up-and-comers, go here.
#6: Lux Trading Company
Lux Trading Company is a London-based proprietary trading firm that offers trading in a full array of financial instruments including forex, equity markets and more, but charges a relatively high enrollment fee.
If you can get past that initial fee, Lux offers some pretty good terms. They set the profit split at 65%, which isn’t too far below industry leader FTMO. If you continue to meet profit targets, you can eventually move beyond the advanced account stage up to the expert stage, with a maximum account size of $2.5 million.
Lux also offers some of the best trading platforms, decent educational services and has recently added a new trader dashboard that’s user friendly and very functional.
To start your evaluation period with a $5,000 demo account, you need to pay an enrollment fee of £299 (more than $400 at current exchange rates.) That’s pretty high amongst proprietary trading firms. DT4X, by way of comparison, charges more than 40% less for a $10,000 trading account.
Lux also offers a second chance should your trading strategies fail you. For an additional £250, you can reset your account and give it another try.
Like with most prop firms, if you get through the demo period by meeting your profit target, your initial fee is refunded, but to me such hefty fees are indicative of a prop firm that profits more from failures than from ongoing success.
Lux Trading Company is a fine option if you don’t mind a high initial fee and are for some reason turned off by the higher profit sharing at FTMO. You can get started with Lux Trading here.
The Bottom Line
You have to be very careful when choosing a proprietary trading company. Prop firms come in all shapes and sizes and there’s a lot of them out there that don’t truly have the traders best interest at heart
The best prop trading firms are the ones that are invested in you, the trader. That might mean they take a higher percentage of your profits than you’d like, but it also means they are incentivized to help you meet your trading goals.
Topstep offers the best of both worlds. They offer some of the highest profit-sharing percentages in the industry, but they are also heavily invested in their prop traders.
If you have a winning strategy and need capital to propel you towards your loftiest financial goals, sign up with Topstep today.
Choosing the right prop trading company will give you the best chance to maximize your trading profits. Choosing the wrong one could rob you of a lot of time and money. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, so I want to be as transparent as possible about how I made my rankings.
I began with a list of prop firms that I compiled from my own experience trading, recommendations of friends and traders in my network as well as a google search. There seems to be new prop firms popping up every month, but it was important to me that I only listed firms with a proven track record.
Once I had compiled my list of candidates, I came up with the above rankings by analyzing each firm and awarding points according to the following seven factors:
Factor 1: Profit splits
This is pretty self-explanatory. I awarded the most points to the firms that offered the highest profit splits. Obviously this is a critical category. It is very difficult to consistently make profits as a trader, especially when you’re bound to the rules set up by your prop firm. If you are up to the challenge and turn a profit, obviously you should reap the lion share of the rewards.
I have no problem giving the prop firm their cut. They put up the cash, they assume much of the risk, so they deserve a percentage. But you’re the one doing all the work, sweating through all the tough decisions, and consistently beating the market. You deserve the highest possible profit percentage.
Factor 2: Scaling opportunities
This is another pretty simple category. Most prop firms allow successful traders to trade progressively more capital so long as they continue to meet profit targets. The best, most consistent traders may eventually be entrusted with millions of dollars of a prop firm’s capital.
You’ll see these best-case-scenario figures splashed across every prop firm’s website. “Trade up to $2 million!” This can be misleading, however, as some firms make it nearly impossible to make it to the high water mark.
So when I awarded points in this category, I looked at not only that top figure, but also at how hard the firms made it to get there.
Many firms also bump up their profit splits if you can meet your profit targets, so I also took that into account.
Factor 3: Trading parameters
This is a very important category that many rookie traders don’t look at closely enough when they sign up with their prop firm.
All prop firms control how much risk their traders can take on. This makes perfect sense, of course, since they are entrusting you with their capital.
Prop firms use a number of different tools to limit how much risk you take on. Some don’t allow you to keep positions open overnight or over the weekend. Some don’t allow you to trade news releases, so you are limited when unemployment figures or other key economic data is released. Most employ daily loss limits and overall loss limits or some type of draw-down limits.
If that’s not enough, some prop firms even limit what type of trading strategies you can use.
As I said, prop firms are entitled to limit how much risk you take. It is their money, after all. However, some firms take this too far. As a trader, you have to be able to assume some risk, or you’ll never make a dime.
When awarding points, I rewarded the firms that gave their traders the most freedom by enforcing the fewest restrictions.
I also looked at profit targets for this category, although most prop firms fall in the 8-10% range, so there’s not a lot of variance. Obviously the lower the profit targets, the easier it will make your life as a trader. In addition to less stress, it will be easier to pass your evaluation period or graduate to higher account levels.
Factor 4: Affordability / Value
I’m amazed at how expensive some prop trading firms are. Some of them charge so much, it makes way more sense to just start trading the money you’d have to pay as fees rather than forking it over to a firm.
I’m also not a big fan of monthly fees. Some of you may prefer that payment model, but I’d rather pay my dues upfront and not worry about it again.
I rewarded prop firms with low price points and one-time fees, but I also looked at what each firm offered with their funded account program. A really cheap prop trading firm that doesn’t offer great trading platforms or good customer support isn’t something I’m going to recommend. I also want to see some bang for your buck.
Factor 5: Tradable assets
I’m a firm believer in finding one niche in the markets, becoming an expert and just trading within that niche. Most of the successful traders I know have done exactly that. However, I still prefer prop trading firms that offer a lot of options when it comes to tradable assets.
Even within certain asset classes, you still need to be aware of exactly what assets you are allowed to trade. For example, some forex prop firms only allow you to trade a limited number of currency pairs, which obviously limits your trading options.
I also like a prop firm that provides a lot of asset options because you never know what your trading future might bring. Your current trading strategy might not be viable in a few years. I don’t want to have to start all over with a new prop trading firm because I had to change strategies.
Factor 6: Educational Resources
If you are already an experienced trader and are simply looking for capital, you may not place too much value in a prop firm’s available educational resources. I get that. But I’d argue two things.
First, with the way markets are evolving so quickly these days, it is imperative even for the most seasoned traders to perpetually continue their education. Crypto is a great example. No one knew what this was just a few years ago, but the traders who figured it out early and learned the market first made fortunes. Never stop learning.
Secondly, I think there is a direct correlation between the quality of a prop firm and the quality of its education program. Prop firms who want their traders to succeed make investments in the ongoing education of their traders. Those that don’t… don’t.
A really good prop firm wants the smartest, most educated traders in the world trading their capital. They will make the necessary investments to make sure that’s what they have.
Factor 7: Customer service
Not something a lot of traders think about, but this is also very important when judging a prop trading firm. Like educational resources, how much a firm invests in its customer service department is a really good indicator of how much they value you, the trader.
Also, prop trading comes with its own set of rules that are unique in the trading world. There are times when even the best traders need some help. With markets moving as fast as they do, it’s critical that you get that sound guidance as quickly as possible.
A good prop firm has invested in a knowledgeable, helpful, courteous support staff that will be there to guide you whenever you need them.
I truly hope this guide helps you find the right prop trading firm for you. A good proprietary trading firm can give you the capital boost you need to make real money as a trader. That’s my goal for all of you who have decided to go the prop trading route.
If you’re trading with a firm that you love and it isn’t on my list, please let me know here. Also please reach out if you’ve had a bad experience with one of the above firms. I will update my rankings accordingly.
Trading always seems like a me vs you, zero sum game, but it’s not. By exchanging information and learning from our collective experience, we can all help each other along on our journey towards true financial freedom.