Topstep VS Apex Trader Funding

Topstep VS Apex Trader Funding - Comparison Funded Frogram

Overview

The article examines the key distinctions between Topstep and Apex Trader Funding, two major prop firms that allow budding traders to demonstrate their trading talents in order to receive access to capital. Each firm has a unique approach that will be a better match for different traders according to how much experience they have and how they like to trade.

Topstep, with over a decade of expertise, is a pretty big deal in the prop trading industry. US-based, the firm partners with a number of prominent prop trading platforms including NinjaTrader and Tradovate. The firm also, uniquely, has its very own trading platform, called TopstepX™. Brought to life by experts from the fields of trading and software design, the platform brings together everything that Topstep provides in one user-friendly space and is available exclusively to Topstep users.

Topstep also offers TopstepTV™: a live broadcast in which skilled traders trade live, discuss market trends, and keep you up to date with market movements. Blending entertainment and education in an innovative way, the show also provides useful trading ideas, community stats, interesting guest appearances, and incentives for the firm’s best achievers. Topstep users can watch every Monday to Friday from 8.00am – 3.00pm CT.

The account sizes on offer start at $50,000 and go up to $150,000, with profit targets and maximum drawdowns tiered in line with starting capital.  All of the key futures contracts are offered for trading, including the E-mini S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100, crude oil, gold, micro crude oil, micro gold and micro bitcoin, and also interest rate futures.

Apex Trader Funding (ATF), hailing from Austin, Texas, in the US, was set up more recently. CEO and founder Darrel Martin was increasingly frustrated by other prop firms he worked with, and as a result two years ago introduced his own offering, concentrating entirely on the needs of its traders.

Compatible with Tradovate and Rithmic platforms (both of which provide excellent data feeds and trade execution capabilities), Apex Trader Funding offers lots of different account sizes. These range from $25,000 through to $300,000, so there’s an account for every level of experience and risk tolerance. The evaluation has a single stage, so experienced traders have fast access to funding, and profit targets and maximum total drawdowns vary by account size. There are no news or holiday trading restrictions, and you can trade up to 20 funded accounts simultaneously. Furthermore, you’ll find a good array of instruments to trade, from stock index futures and interest rate futures through to currency and agricultural futures.

Screenshot 162 Topstep VS Apex Trader Funding
Screenshot 163 Topstep VS Apex Trader Funding
Topstep is better for: Apex Trader Funding (ATF) is best for:
Traders who appreciate the discipline of robust risk management parameters. Traders who value freedom and flexibility to trade as it suits them.
Traders prioritising educational resources to improve their abilities and knowledge. Those looking to trade multiple funded accounts simultaneously.
Traders who value having a profit target to aim for. Traders who seeking higher amounts of starting capital.

Comparative of Topstep and Apex Trader Funding: Prop Firms for Futures Traders

The table below lays out all the most important features of Topstep and Apex Trader Funding to help you compare these two industry giants.

Feature Topstep Apex Trader Funding
Instruments Futures contracts (Equity, Forex, Agricultural, Energy, Interest Rate, Metals) Equity Futures, Foreign Exchange Futures, Agricultural Futures, Energy Futures, Interest Rate Futures, Metals Futures, Cryptocurrency Futures
Challenge Types 1-Step/1-Rule One-Step Evaluation Process
Challenge Account Sizes $50,000, $100,000, $150,000 Full: $25,000, up to $300,000 Static: $100,000
Challenge Cost $125 - $650/month Rithmic: Full $147 to $657 month, Static $137 month. Tradovate: Full $167 to $677 month, Static $157 month.
Minimum Trading Days 2 days 7 days
Profit Target $,3000 to $9,000 $1,500 to $20,000
Max Position size 5 to 15 contracts 4 to 35 contracts
Payout Split Payout Split 90/10 (trader/firm) Keep 100% on first $10,000 profits Receive 100% of the first $25,000 per Account and 90/10 (trader/firm) Beyond That

There are a several other elements you might also want to take into account:

Topstep:

  • Breaching the maximum loss limit counts as a rule violation. This limit is worked out using your end of day balance, as opposed to unrealised profits intraday.
  • Topstep offers monthly subscription to its Performance Coaching Plan at $395 a month. Access is included with funded accounts at no extra cost. This Plan includes a 30-minute initiation meeting, access to a Topstep group chat, individual guidance and daily and weekly meetings.

Apex Trader Funding:

  • To be eligible for funding, you simply need to achieve your profit target in seven trading days and before you hit your maximum drawdown.
  • Futures day traders have a choice between two industry-leading platforms, Rithmic and Tradovate, both of which offer efficient customer support and a range of cutting-edge tools.

Deeper Dive into Apex Trader Funding vs. Topstep Trader

Our next table is a closer examination of Apex Trader Funding and Topstep’s rules:

Rule Category Apex Topstep
Scalping Allowed Allowed
Day Trading Allowed Allowed
Swing Trading Allowed Not Allowed
Holding Positions Overnight Allowed Not Allowed
Holding Positions Over Weekends Allowed Allowed
News Trading Allowed Allowed

Maximum Daily Loss

  • Topstep: The Topstep maximum loss limit is defined as a minimum account balance, determined based on the peak account balance at the close of the previous trading day – a method of calculating it which benefits traders significantly. The daily limit highlights the importance of effective risk management and disciplined trading – both essential for qualifying for a funded account. Exceeding this limit ends your participation in the Trading Combine. Each account size has a specific fixed daily loss limit:

    • $50,000 Trading Combine: $1,000
    • $100,000 Trading Combine: $2,000
    • $150,000 Trading Combine: $3,000

Trailing Threshold

  • Topstep: Focuses on the Maximum Daily Loss Limit.

  • Apex Trader Funding: Apex Trader Funding provides you with your plan’s starting balance and a certain number of allowed contracts. You can trade up to the maximum contract limit, including micros.

    • The maximum loss drawdown varies by plan. For example, the $50,000 plan starts with a drawdown set at $47,500, which is $2,500 below the initial balance. There’s no daily maximum drawdown limit.
    • In FULL accounts, the maximum drawdown stops trailing when the liquidation threshold is at $100 above the initial plan balance. For a $50,000 account, this would be $50,100. This means that when your peak unrealised account balance equals the initial plan balance plus the trailing drawdown amount plus $100, the trailing will stop.
    • In STATIC accounts, the drawdown remains fixed and doesn’t change. For instance, a $100,000 static account will always have a drawdown set at $99,375.

Withdrawal

  • Topstep: To be eligible for a payout, you must have five profitable days (not necessarily consecutive), each with a minimum profit of $200. At this point, you can withdraw 50% of the account balance. To access your entire profits, you need to accumulate 30 winning days. Payouts are typically processed within seven hours of the request and should be received within one to two business days.

  • Apex Trader Funding: Withdrawals are processed twice a month, on the 15th and the last business day. Traders receive 100% of the first $25,000 in profits and 90% of any additional profits. Payouts are handled by Plane, a payment processor that offers various withdrawal options, including wire transfer, cryptocurrency, ACH, and PayPal. You need to complete 10 trading days before requesting your initial payout. Subsequent payouts can be requested every 10 days. The minimum amount you can withdraw is $1,000 and the maximum withdrawal amount varies by account size for the first three withdrawals, with no limits on withdrawals starting from the fourth.

It’s worth also taking a look at the websites of both prop firms to make sure you’ve understood exactly what their withdrawal polices are.

Leverage

Leverage Futures Apex Topstep
Futures 1:1 1:1

Risk Management

  • Topstep: Topstep has quite strict risk management protocols, including daily and weekly loss limits and a trailing drawdown. Although these rules might seem restrictive, they’re designed to protect traders from impulsive decisions and encourage the development of consistent and disciplined trading practices – so in the end, they should help you trade more profitably.
  • Apex Trader Funding (ATF): Apex takes a more relaxed approach, giving you more room to trade exactly as it suits you. Though there is a maximum drawdown rule, there’s no daily loss limit. This setup is great for traders with some experience who are adept at managing risk and have already established a good trading strategy.

Additional Points:

Apex Funding Trader: Apex lets you trade every day, including on holidays and news events, for 23 hours a day. Trades must be closed and pending orders cancelled before 4:59pm ET and you can resume again at 6.00pm ET.

Topstep vs. Apex Trader Funding: Pros and Cons

Topstep:

Pros

Cons

Apex Trader Funding:

Pros

Cons

Conclusion

Topstep and Apex Trader Funding are two first-rate prop trading firms providing access for capital with which to trade futures. The superlative effort Topstep put into educating their traders make it the perfect option for those looking to improve their skills and knowledge of the sector, developing their careers with a methodical approach. Apex Trader Funding, with their wide range of account sizes, platforms and trading instruments, accommodates a big variety of trading styles and experience levels. Flexible drawdown rules are another major draw for traders who are keen to trade with autonomy.

In short, choosing a trading platform doesn’t just require evaluations of the merits and drawbacks of the firms in question, but also some careful thought about your own preferences – for educational resources, risk taking, strategies, platforms and instruments. Putting the time in to research these factors will pay off in the long run!

Topstep VS Apex Trader Funding - Comparison Funded Frogram
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