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TopstepTrader - The Facts

Discussion in 'Business, Investment and Economics' started by havaiana, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. havaiana

    havaiana

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    I thought this warrants it's own thread as the other one become more like a personal journal and the threads on other forums are full of opinions rather than facts making it hard to find the real info needed to decide whether Topstep Trader is right for their personal circumstances.

    Mods feel free to merge or delete if you don't feel we need a separate thread.

    I will not be giving any personal opinions, just writing down all the facts of the process I have been through thus far after passing the combine. I will highlight any conditions which are not stated on the website to allow people to make a more informed decision. In the case I highlight something that is on the website that I just missed, let me know and I will adjust.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Just for information, here is the other thread the passed combine:
    https://www.aussiestockforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25663&page=2&p=787224&viewfull=1#post787224

    - - - Updated - - -

    Email after passing, additional conditions not stated when you sign up in bold:

    "After reviewing your Combine performance, the equity partner is prepared to provide you with a funded trading account pending your performance in the Live Trader Preparation. Your account parameters will be identical to that of the funded account. Use this time to get comfortable with the transition.

    Account Parameters

    Duration: Until you have established profits greater than $1,250 (minimum of 10 trading days required, maximum of 60 calendar days)

    Starting Balance: $0

    Max Position Size: 5

    Loss Limit:
    Per day: $1,000
    Per calendar week: $1,000
    (The weekly loss limit is the maximum amount you may lose at any point in a calendar week (Monday through Friday). The weekly loss limit is factored based on the SUM of the overall end of day NET P&L in the calendar week.)

    Max Drawdown: $2,000 (account may not drop below -$2,000)

    Products to Trade: 6J and 6A

    Trading Hours (in Central Standard Time): (to be discussed on scout call)
    Start time:
    Stop time:


    Objective

    Profit Target: $1,250

    Adhere to the following rules: (to be discussed on scout call)
    I will not hit my loss limit (per day or per calendar week).
    I will not hit my max drawdown.
    I will not add to a losing trade.
    I will adhere to the agreed upon trading hours.
    I will close my position(s) by 3:10 PM CST.
    I will not hold a position into the electronic close.
    At the start of my day I will trade only _____ lot(s) and will only add to my position or increase my size if my total Net P&L is greater than $500.
    I will stop trading for the day if my total Net P&L is greater than $500 and my total Net P&L has pulled back 50% off my high watermark (realized Net P&L high of the day).
    If my total Net P&L is negative for the day, I will stop trading if I experience ___ losing trades in a row.
    My largest winning day will be greater than my largest losing day (realized end of day Net P&L). (Enforced after 10 trading days)

    I will have a winning day percentage greater than 40, in the event that I hit 50% of my max drawdown (realized end of day Net P&L).
    You may be eligible to revise the above listed rules on your Scout call.

    When you complete the Live Trader Preparation period, you will receive a refund for the Combine deposit you previously placed (if applicable)."
     
  2. skc

    skc Goldmember

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    Pardon my ignorance. What are these contracts and what are the tick size?
     
  3. havaiana

    havaiana

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    Assuming I pass Live trader Prep and get funded the following applies:

    JUNIOR TRADER; 5 contract max, max drawdown $2,000, daily/weekly stop $1,000, 60/40 profit split. Also have all the same conditions of the live trader prep during this time. after $5,000 profit in account:
    SENIOR TRADER; max contracts negotiable, daily loss $1,000, max drawdown = profit balance.
    After of profit in account $10k in account 70/30 split and obviously most stuff become negotiable from here on in

    Additional notes after having received the phone call (any conditions not mentioned from the email I did not negotiate on the call so they obviously will apply):

    LIVE TRADER PREP; Obviously the live trader preparation is very similar to doing a second combine. Although it states that not everyone has to do it, it is not clear what the determining requirements are. I asked this on the phone call and why I was deemed to need it, but did not receive any specific details other than the general answers in the Q&A section of the website. So I can't really add any more info on this aspect.
    To see Q&A's: http://help.topsteptrader.com/knowledgebase/articles/231905-how-is-ltp-different-from-the-combine-

    TRADING HOURS; I am not able to trade my usual trading hours (Asia). I was able to negotiate to trade European hours for the live trader preparation but would have to switch to US hours when I reach the funded stage. I offered to trade at half the daily stop allowed but trading hours are not negotiable when funded.

    ADD TO LOSING TRADE; I really pushed this point, I detailed how I have tested this over a fairly decent sample and it significantly increases my profitability. I also explained how I am effectively decreasing position size and averaging in. This can be seen by checking my average contracts per trade versus the trade reports they have sent out of other people who have passed. I again offered to reduce the allowed daily stop by 50% but it was stated that this is not negotiable and it will most likely not be an acceptable way to trade even after progressing from junior trader to senior trader. It is not a style accepted by the equity partner.

    At the start of my day I will trade only 2 lot(s) and will only add to my position or increase my size if my total Net P&L is greater than $500.

    If my total Net P&L is negative for the day, I will stop trading if I experience 3 losing trades in a row.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Basically the futures contracts of AUD/USD and USD/JPY, 6A = $10.00, 6J = $12.50
     
  4. Trembling Hand

    Trembling Hand Can be found on the bid

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    Gee I would fail that in no time. :(
     
  5. skyQuake

    skyQuake

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    Being only allowed to pyramid rather than average sounds a bit unfair.

    But I guess they can afford to pick and choose, its most definitely a "seller's market" in the early stages, swarming with thousands of wannabe traders.

    I reckon its a pretty good business model. Too bad they aren't listed
     
  6. havaiana

    havaiana

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    I know I said I wont give any opinions but....

    I think all these extra conditions are great for a learning trader so they wont lose as much, but I think for a profitable trader they wont win as much. Then add the fact that it is really 2 combines (assuming you don't have a below average period and fall short of the profit target in case it would be more)

    For a profitable trader it becomes, is it really worth it to give up the live trading time to sim for so long and then trade for so long under less profitable conditions.

    I think it's a good model for getting money from the losers and getting some traders who are on the edge who may turn into good traders. Probably not going to attract many traders who are already at the profitable stage though (unless you can find a way to make them think it is only one combine without all the conditions :D)

    From the learner traders perspective, I definitely think they will probably learn a lot more and faster this way then going through the typical internet forum/course road.
     
  7. Gringotts Bank

    Gringotts Bank

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    Haviana, have you done any of what they call the IDT program?
     
  8. skc

    skc Goldmember

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    The trading hours rule may just be a function of their risk monitoring staff availability, but it's a bit unfair when they advertise that traders join them from around the world. I hope they don't have the same hours rule for traders who are trading Asian futures, for example.

    The other stuff are restrictive and I doubt too many real traders trade that way. But TST are the ones putting up the money so it's up to them to make up the rules. The only issue is if they have not been transparent about it.

    I said this when CanOz first posted about these guys. Sure there are traders being funded out there but I wonder how long do they last given the trading parameters...

    Hav, without knowing your personal circumstance... if I were you I'd do the live trader prep if hours permit. While the loss limits are tight, the profit objective doesn't seem that high ($1250 over 60 days?). It seems a shame to not push it for another 3-4 weeks given how far you have invested. If you walk away my bet is that you will regret not giving it a go, but if you work through it and fail (or you are asked to jump through another hoop), you would always have learned something worthwhile.

    There are quite a few threads on EliteTraders and the discussion there might help guide the next step you take.
     
  9. havaiana

    havaiana

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    Nope, all I've done through them is the combines, I did come across a webinar that I watched by John Hoagland, I think it was good, can't really remember though, was a while ago and my memory is not one of my strong points. He is the head of 'scouting' and who I spoke to on the phone call, very nice guy.

    I believe this is correct. This is not stated though on the website or anywhere else when you are signing up (correct me if i'm wrong someone?).

    I can only speak for myself but I had the impression (and I will put this out there and say the advertising gives the impression) that the funded account was exactly the same as the combine you passed but with real money, can trade any hours on combine just not hold positions overnight.

    I did tell John that if i knew a result such as my combine would have to go through another combine, that extra conditions would be added or that i could not trade asia, i never would have signed up. Maybe i just didn't do enough research, maybe the advertising is misleading, maybe a bit of both, will let people have a look and decide for themselves.
     
  10. havaiana

    havaiana

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    I think you nailed it with your post in the original thread. I don't have anything against the business model, I think it provides a great option for people and I definitely don't have a problem with a profitable business model. The transparency bit though I think needs some (a lot) of work which is why I have started the thread. It is still a great option for some people, i just think they need to know all the facts to be able to decide that.

    I am going to complete it and the profit target should be easy (watch me blow up now!). I will just change my focus to trade a live account to work up a track record to be hired by real prop and do TST for a couple of hours a day on the side.
     
  11. havaiana

    havaiana

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    Sorry for my spam, but this is important and not sure if I addressed it that clearly. When funded, you would have to trade during US hours no matter what you are trading. Also, as far as i am aware there is no where on the site or in the pages when you sign up that lets you know this
     
  12. CanOz

    CanOz Home runs feel good, but base hits pay bills!

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    I thought i read that somewhere, but it may have been on BMT. There are no Asian or Eurex contracts available to trade. The reason for the trading hours is as SKC mentioned, due to the hours kept by the risk managers...although you would think that one day in order to attract more traders from Europe they would employ another risk manager to work the markets in Europe...who knows.
     
  13. havaiana

    havaiana

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    AUD and YEN not nearly as volatile as the hang seng though. Compared to the seng they trade like short term interest!
     
  14. havaiana

    havaiana

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    You are correct about the eurex, i hadn't noticed to be honest as i don't trade them, they do have Nikkei though

    I could be wrong, but John did seem to hint that they may be looking at extending hours to europe in the future

    EDIT: just saw this: "Once a funded trader has built an account cushion, additional products not shown on this list (i.e. products on EUREX and ICE exchanges) may be traded. "
     
  15. artist

    artist

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts



    That is odd, because they state that
    "What are the permitted trading hours?

    ← Combine

    As a recruit or funded trader, you will have access to trade the markets during any open electronic trading hours. Markets are open nearly 23 hours a day, so you can find the times and markets that best suit your schedule. We require ALL recruits to be out of positions by 3:10 PM CST everyday, as overnight position holding is prohibited." http://help.topsteptrader.com/knowledgebase/articles/182814-what-are-the-permitted-trading-hours-

    and also that " Once a funded trader has built an account cushion, additional products not shown on this list (i.e. products on EUREX and ICE exchanges) may be traded. " http://www.topsteptrader.com/PermissibleProducts
     
  16. havaiana

    havaiana

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    Re: Topstep Trader - The Facts

    I agree, it is odd (odd was not the word i was thinking when i found out!). I was told US only (this morning) and i tried to negotiate otherwise and told it's not negotiable. My guess would be that the above is wrong or that they are referring to a funded trader that has built up a large enough buffer and track record of profitability that they can do what they want, like Gordon Gecko
     
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