Get Funded – A Pitch of the Trading Dreams Factory

By | January 29, 2015

fundedArguably, the whole trading educational services industry is a big dream factory. That’s because in 99% of the cases you have self professed trading ‘professionals‘  without any proof of them ever having traded successfully (or even traded at all) purporting to teach others how to do this for a living. I believe this is an unique feature of the trading world. There are a lot of pitches these salesmen use in order to get gullible persons to part with their money, but as you can guess from the title of this article, I’m only going to deal with one of them today: the ‘get funded’ pitch.

There are a couple of firms that I’m aware of (certainly they are not the only ones) which use the ‘get funded’ pitch : Topstep Trader and Apiary Fund. What they basically do is sell the standard (we’re the best, we’ve trained hundreds, we have decades of trading experience bla bla) trading education but with an added promise: if you turn out to be a good trader, you’ll get funded by us. Not only that, but you’ll get to keep 60-80% of the profits realized on our capital. You don’t have to contribute any money and therefore there’s no risk of losing your own capital. Now, doesn’t it sound like a trader’s nirvana ? :)

Actually, it isn’t. The ‘get funded’ sales pitch has more holes in it than Swiss cheese:

  • as with any trading education coming from someone with no trading credentials (verified track-record) it can at best have some quality. It could be much cheaper though to go with the free resources on the internet or several inexpensive books on Amazon. In a worst case scenario, it’s just costly rubbish.
  • the criteria used to define what a good trader is and who will ultimately get funded is specifically designed so that hardly anyone would qualify. Their answer to this is usually that they are only looking for the best traders out there, but that’s just a smoke screen.  Let me give you one example of a  bullshit condition from Topstep Trader that has nothing to do with profitable trading: ‘Achieve an Average Net P&L greater than $0 for each product traded ‘. (emphasis mine)
  • the fact that these firms don’t disclose the number of traders that got funded and with how much – even though they’ve been in business for several years – speaks volumes. I see it as a tacit admission that they haven’t funded anyone – for more than a few months and few thousand dollars anyway.
  • the fact that once funded, the trader would get 70-80% of profits flies in the face of the whole managed assets industry where the standard payout is 1-2% admin fee and 15-25% of profits with just a few superstars like Steve Cohen getting away with 3% and 50%. So either has the industry been doing charitable work for their investors all these years, or the idea of getting 70-80% of profits is just a nice dream.

I hope it’s clear by now what the ‘get funded’ pitch is all about. How come firms of this type are still in business after all these years then, some readers might ask ? It’s because human nature never changes. There will always be people out there who think they can get something for nothing.

“The pockets change, the suckers change, the stocks change, but Wall Street never changes, because human nature never changes.” – Jesse Livermore



19 thoughts on “Get Funded – A Pitch of the Trading Dreams Factory

  1. Andrew

    Yeah, well, who wouldn’t want to have some high-paid cushy salaried job where you can still trade your own account on your cell phone??

    Haven’t you ever noticed how some of these executives at brokers make some really big mistakes, but once their company goes bankrupt, they get a job someplace else?? Meanwhile, I couldn’t get a job in Finance to save my life, even though I don’t take big risks and I get a pretty good return.

    1. Eli AUBERTIN

      Andrew – I agree. And I’m afraid your frustration is shared by many of us (me certainly).

  2. Mike

    Ah this is mostly wrong :(
    They clearly state that they don’t provide education.

    They’re looking for profitable traders not wanna-be traders to trade in a prop shop type business.
    TST isn’t evil except they advertise on noob forums, blogs etc

    1. JLTrader Post author

      What they provide then for the $95-375 they want monthly ? Well, who else takes them serious, beside noobs ?

  3. JLTrader Post author

    Yeah, that’s exactly the dream TST is selling: you, poor, talented trader don’t have trading capital, give us what money you still have (at a rate of $95-375/month) and we MIGHT give you some capital to manage (if you pass our idiotic rules, designed specifically to hinder you).
    Listen, if they were indeed looking for good traders they wouldn’t have those rules (like being profitable on each product traded). Secondly, they wouldn’t be afraid to publish their financials, how much money are they making off the monthly fees vs the returns provided by the funded traders.
    Beside,you can’t evaluate a trader based on 10 days of data, to see if he’s eligible for funding or not. That’s a joke. Who wants to build a track-record and really be eligible for funding, without wasting money monthly, should have a look at

    1. Mike

      Well its their money their rules… They used to be a lot worse!
      The ‘being profitable on each product traded’ is actually an average and it makes ssense so not to trade a new market on a hunch…
      Dreams? What dreams? There’s no fantasy about tst?

      If you’re new at trading you shouldn’t buy a Lamborghini’s…
      If you buy one its not Lamborghini’s fault if you can or can’t trade.
      Same with tst.

      Its for funding only that’s it… No dreams no Lamborghini etc.

  4. Victor Chase

    I joined ApiaryFund and TopStepTrader. Its not easy to get funded with either one, but its fair. And both are good discipline for managing one’s own account. I found TopStepTrader more difficult (mainly because it is more difficult to scale into positions on a futures account, than an FX account ) , but will give it another go some time soon. I got funded with ApiaryFund quite quickly. Then got all nervous and made a significant loss a couple weeks later. Got over the nerves rebuilding well now.
    As for the training, I opted to not have any, preferring to use books and other sources; but from what I’ve seen of the live trading, it’s probably fine. Also, the daily webinars and recorded seminars are free and worthwhile. Very interesting to see the live trading with explanation which happens every Thursday at Apiary for about 30min on a 1min chart.

    One great thing about both, is that your monthly risk is fixed while your potential income is not.

  5. Trader

    Partly agree with some of this article. I spent 8 or 9 months with TST on their refundable combine until they stopped the refundable combine (I am sure it was because of me and some others like me who always managed to get a free rollover). I thank them for the free rollovers because CME must be recovering monthly data fees from them. But exceeding the profit target becomes a big challenge when you are chasing the free rollover as well. So I went down diminishing returns with highest profit in the first combine (85%).

    I still believe TST is doing a great job disciplining traders and answering questions like if at all trading is the right profession for you and if you should devote any more time to it. It helped me improve.

    Compare them to other funded trader programs that need you to shell out $4000 and more for some crappy training that must be completed before they risk a part of the money they got from you.

    MES Capital probably beats TST because they don’t ask for even that $95 to $375 monthly fee. But they give you only one chance. Remember CME is collecting monthly data fees from MES Capital. So I will need to rate them better than TST.

    Of course I don’t have info on how many traders are actually collecting their profit share from MES. But despite requests TST is not releasing that info either. They just publish funded trader interviews. How soon that interviewee got knocked back into a combine is not published by them. Or how much they managed to take home before being knocked out is not published by them.

    TST recently began keep the first $5000 that you make (the full 100% than the later 80%) adline but how many traders are taking that $5000 every month? What % of newly funded traders are taking home that $5000 every month…will that ever be published?

    So if you need to figure out if you can make it as a trader, or if you need to test out new trading ideas (but there are better ways of doing that) ; or if you are a great trader from some third world country where it takes 100 local currency to buy $1, TST & MES are the cut out for you.

    If you already know how to trade and have been trading profitably why do you need someone else’s money? Your money should be safer in your trading account than in your bank account.

  6. Pete

    Hi guys, what do you think about ? It has Jack Schwager of Market Wizards books series fame on board and that makes me believe it’s 100% legit.
    It seems like if you have a good track-record, you might get the attention of some big investors.

    1. JLTrader Post author

      I have mixed feelings about FundSeeder. The good things first: Jack Schwager’s name commands respect in the trading world, so I’m with you there, I think it’s a serious operation.

      Now the things I don’t really understand: I must’ve heard about FundSeeder 2 years ago or so – they’ve had a change of management team, but there’s still no real progress to speak of. Furthermore, they’re not clear about their business model – how are they going to make money ? They present themselves as a trading track-record verification platform (plenty of those out there) and also as capital introducers (to regulated traders or if not, they assist you to become registered, in the US I suppose). Apparently there’s another entity, FundSeeder Investments, ”which provides visibility to institutional and qualified high net worth investors seeking trading talent.”
      I believe that’s where their advantage might be – if (big IF) they’re backed by some real investor capital. Without that, they don’t bring anything new to the marketplace. As things currently stand, I think Darwinex is a much more superior product, but it lacks the visibility to institutional and HNWI (at least at the present moment, hopefully that will change).

      1. M Nasser

        they posted some videos on their youtube channel and explaining how they make money in the process. go check it out

        1. JLTrader Post author

          Do you mean this video, Detailed Fundseeder vision?

          I’ve seen it last month when Jack Schwager tweeted it. So basically their revenue will come from matchmaking between traders – investors. As a business plan it is sound, let’s see the implementation. They forgot to mention in their competitors slide firms like Quantiacs (registered CTA, ready to start managing money) or Quantopian (got an investment of $250M from Steve Cohen).

  7. Ondre

    While the “Get Funded” pitch certainly deserves initial skepticism, TopStepTrader and The Apiary Fund don’t deserve to be in that conversation. They’re both in fact great opportunities for serious traders to begin professionally managing money. It’s not easy. It’s not for everyone. But it is realistic for serious traders. I know traders funded by TopStep, and I’ve been a funded trader with The Apiary Fund for a year. They funded me based on the terms we agreed, and have payed me as expected. The bar is set high if you are inexperienced, as it should be. But it is quite attainable for dedicated, skilled traders. Who else should they want trading their money?

    My advice, if you’re serious, do real research to find a company that’s right for you and GO for it! I’m very happy I did.


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