As one of the premier prop firms offering different funding options for its users, FTMO and TopStep have consistently held the top spot on the list for financial advisors looking to tell their customers about which firm to begin their prop trading journey with.
You will need to do your KYC proceedings with FTMO when you pass the challenge, and with TopStep as soon as you pay the monthly fees.
This article does an in-depth dive to compare both these platforms on different criteria which are useful for you to make your decision about where you will be trading. Keep reading to find out and make your decision by the end of the article.
FTMO vs TopStep: Trading Instruments
With FTMO, you are allowed to trade forex currency pairs, cryptocurrencies, bonds, indices, stocks, and commodities.
Topstep only allows trading futures on its platform and does not have a lot of variety in terms of the assets offered.
FTMO vs TopStep: Account Types & Maximum Account Size
If you want a trading account with a one-time payment and then a 2-step evaluation process, look towards the FTMO challenge and its two accounts, the Normal challenge (€155 for $10,000) and the Aggressive Challenge (€250 for $10,000). If your trading skills are as good as you think they are, you will pass the FTMO challenge and become an FTMO-funded trader.
Once you pass this challenge, you can select whether you want the regular account or the swing account. The latter does not have restrictions on holding positions over the weekend, overnight, or trading when macroeconomic news is to be released.
The Normal and Aggressive plans have different rules, for example, the profit targets are 10% for Stage 1 and 5% for Stage 2 in the Normal challenge, 20% for Stage 1, and 10% for Stage 2 when the selected challenge is the Aggressive one.
If you pass the evaluation process without breaking any rules, the prop firm will give you back your one-time fee along with your first profit withdrawal.
The maximum account size on FTMO starts with an initial account balance of $200,000 and this can go up to $400,000 if you stay within the certain limitations of the account and keep earning regular profits.
TopStep offers its futures traders three different plans that start with $50,000 buying power and costs a monthly fee of $165. The other two plans have buying powers of $100,000, and $150,000, and a monthly fee of $325 and $375.
Keep in mind that buying power, in this case, does not mean that this is the balance of your account. This is calculated as the maximum position that can be taken into account with the maximum leverage. In this case, the maximum allowed leverage is 100:1, so a $50,000 account is essentially a $500 account.
When you pass the two-step Trading combine without breaching any of the rules, you get access to an account where your new account balance is equal to the buying power you paid for when you started.
If you think you are not ready to start on a challenge and would like to try out your skills, there is an option for simulated trading programs for 14 days that start you off with $150.000 in virtual money.
The maximum account size on TopStep is limited to an initial account balance of $150,000 as there is no scaling plan in place at this prop firm.
FTMO vs TopStep: 100k Account Challenge / Evaluation Prices & Period
Prop firms use an evaluation process to determine which of the traders are consistently profitable and which of them might be purely lucky.
FTMO has one offering that is a two-step evaluation process that every trader must get through to be able to withdraw profits or get your one-time fee for the challenge refunded. The challenge also needs you to decide between the Normal and Aggressive variants which both have different rules.
The Normal variant costs a one-time fee of €540 and the Aggressive variant comes to €1,080. In both the plans, you have 30 days in Stage 1, and 60 days in Stage 2 to achieve your targets while staying within the rules.
TopStep has a 2-step evaluation also that you need to pass to get access to funded accounts and start actual trading. You get access to a virtual account during this time and although it does not represent actual trading, it gives firm confidence in your skills. The account that can buy assets worth $100,000 costs a monthly fee of $325. The rules however are different and stringent compared to the ones on FTMO.
There is no limit on how many days you can take to achieve your objectives in Steps 1 and 2 of the challenge, and if you stay within the rules, you will be moved on to the next phase.
If you’re looking for No-Evaluation Prop Firms, here are some options to be considered.
FTMO vs TopStep: 100k Account: Challenge Rules
In the Normal variant of the FTMO challenge, you need to make a 10% profit in a minimum of 10 trading days, stay below the daily loss limit of 5%, and under the total loss of 10%. The second phase gives you 60 days, needs you to trade for a minimum of 10 days, and adhere to the same percentage of daily loss limits and a maximum loss that should not be breached, but the profit target is reduced to 5%.
The Aggressive variant costs a refundable fee of €1,080, and the number of days in Phase 1 and 2 of the challenge, and the number of minimum trading days remain unchanged from the Normal variant. The daily loss limit is increased to 10%, the maximum loss to 20% and the profit targets are 20% in Phase 1, and 10% in Phase 2.
With TopStep, Step 1 is where you get to prove your profitability by achieving the profit target for your plan of choice, having a minimum of five trading days, not exceeding the daily loss limit, and not allowing your account balance to hit or exceed the trailing maximum drawdown.
The second step in the trading challenge is the risk management phase and needs you to reach the same profit target, have your best day not be more than 40% of your total profits, using your risk management skills to not hit or exceed the daily loss limit, not allowing your account balance to hit or exceed the trailing maximum drawdown, and also follow the plan to scale accounts.
FTMO vs TopStep: Profit Sharing Ratio
You start with a default payout sharing ratio of 80:20 with FTMO but if you keep achieving the conditions which allow your account to scale, this ratio goes up to 90:10 in your favour which is one of the highest amongst other firms who are competitors.
TopStep keeps everything simple and that goes for its profit split as well. The profit split starts with 80/20 in your favour and does not change for the duration of your time with TopStep. They also let you keep your first $5,000 in profit so that is always welcome.
FTMO vs TopStep: Scaling Plan
The scaling plan at FTMO is very simplified and does not give you a lot of funding options. According to this, your account balance will be increased by 25% every four months bearing in mind that you have been profitable in two out of those four months. The profit target you need to reach is that of 10% and doing this will let you get to a maximum balance of $400,000.
TopStep does not have a plan that will scale your account in terms of your account size increasing, but TopStep changes the maximum amount of lots you are allowed to trade depending on the balance in your account at the end of the day. This plan kicks in during the second step of the Trading combine.
With the $100,000 account, you can only trade a maximum of three lots when your balance is less than $101,500, four lots when it is between $101,50001 and $102,000, five lots when it is between $102,000.01 and $103,000, and six lots when the balance is above $103,000.01.
FTMO vs TopStep: Allowed Leverage & Max Daily Drawdown & Total Drawdown
If you have the FTMO Normal account, you can get maximum leverage of up to 100:1, a daily drawdown of 5% of your initial balance (which is $5,000 for the $100,000 account). The total drawdown is limited to 10% of the initial balance, which is $10,000 in this example.
FTMO calculates drawdowns as the sum of the results of closed positions of the day and the results of open positions at the end of the trading day.
In case you have the FTMO Aggressive account, you have an allowance for the same 100:1 leverage, but the daily drawdown is increased to 10% ($10,000), and the total drawdown is increased to 20% ($20,000).
The maximum leverage allowed to you on TopStep as someone taking the Trading combine challenge, or as a funded trader is 1:100, and the maximum loss you can take in a day is capped at $2,000 for the $100,000 account (costing a monthly fee of $325).
The drawdown calculations for the account are based on trailing maximum drawdown which is calculated as Account Balance High – Maximum Drawdown and this number is set at $3,000 for the $100,000 buying power account.
FTMO vs TopStep: Trading Hours
When you have an FTMO-funded account and have passed the verification stage of the challenge, you move on to manage either a regular FTMO account or an FTMO Account Aggressive, and all your positions need to be closed for the weekend or if the rollover time is going to be longer than two hours.
On the other hand, if you have an FTMO Challenge or Verification account, you are allowed to keep your trades open overnight, over the weekend, or during news releases.
The rules are different when you have access to the FTMO Account Swing type as this account is created to give the swing traders some advantage and ability to execute their trading strategy. This account allows its user to hold traders overnight, over the weekend, or trade the news.
TopStep allows its users to trade from Sunday at 4 pm CT to Friday at 3:45 pm CT when all positions must be closed. As the previous sentence suggests, you are not allowed to hold trades over the weekend.
All positions must be closed every day before 3:10 PM CT and you can then restart trading at 5:00 PM CT as long as it is between the time and day mentioned above.
FTMO vs TopStep: Payout/Payment methods
At FTMO, a trader can only request a payout once they have held their account for more than 14 days. You can then choose a Profit Split Day that is convenient to you. This also makes sure that you receive your profits from the account on the same day every week consistently.
You can request a payout on TopStep at any point after you are one of the funded traders and it usually takes close to seven days for the money to be credited to your account of choice. If the requested payout is more than $500, there is no wire fee but in case the payout amount is less than $500, a $50 wire fee will apply.
FTMO vs TopStep: Allowed EAs & Rules
FTMO allows the use of Expert Advice and discretionary bots to help you make money even when certain market factors are not favourable.
At TopStep during the challenge, you are not allowed to use any bots or methods to try and game the simulated environment and any such work will lead to your account being banned from the platform and forfeiting your monthly fee.
FTMO vs TopStep: Trading Platforms
For FTMO, you have the option to use MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, or additionally cTrader if you are more comfortable with that.
TopStep allows its talented traders to pick one of the 14 trading platforms that are allowed. They do have their trading platform called TSTrader, which is also the best for beginners to start with.
After going through both firms meticulously, it is clear that they are both serious firms that are looking to help their customers make money and help them fine-tune their trading skills.
If you are interested in forex trading, you will be sad to know that TopStep recently shut down its program that allowed trading forex. As the team did not have any forex traders, it became increasingly difficult to monitor and stay on top of what was happening in the forex community. So FTMO naturally becomes the best option unless all of your portfolios is dedicated to futures trading.
The monthly fee on TopStep might is a turn-off for customers as FTMO has a one-time fee in case you want to take the challenge. TopStep tries to keep its offerings, rules, and the rest of its platform simple so that there is no plan to scale your account and no increase in a profit split.
Overall, if you are gung-ho into futures trading, you will look toward TopStep otherwise, it is clear that FTMO is where you should take your money.
Find out how does FTMO compares against other prop firms: