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Anybody heard of topsteptrader (review)


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Anybody heard of topsteptrader (review)

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  #851 (permalink)
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Pedro40 View Post
Disagree you can, but you can't argue against math. The practical value of the TST account comes from the allowed max. DD, not from the margin. In this regard the number of contracts traded is also irrelevant.

If you have 100K on your account but your wife says you have to close your account if you lose 3K, then practically you have a 3K account. The same with TST. They can claim you have a 30K account but if they kick you out after losing 1.5K (or whatever the current limit is) than you have a 3K account. (if I add another 1.5K opening margin requirement for 3 contracts, $500 margin per contract)

The math doesn't lie...

And in this regard it is irrelevant if you lose that 1.5K using 1 contract or 3, the point is the practical account value is determined mostly by the allowed max. DD.

OK, we were talking about different things, and I didn't understand your point.

Having a loss control discipline is going to require you to not lose 100%. There will be some limit at which the plug is pulled. If you want to say that that's all you have to work with, then fine, if you make it clear that's what you mean. In fact, what you have is just a certain number of contracts to trade, and an amount that is the most you can lose. That's actually all you have. Translating this into what your effective account balance would be does not change the fact that you have a certain number of contracts and a certain max loss limit. There's nothing else to the accounts.

I think that TST made a mistake in labeling the Combine accounts as 30K or 50K or whatever, because what matters is the number of contracts and the loss limits. I assume they wanted to give some numbers that retail traders could relate to. But, with any account, the leverage that someone chooses matters. A prudent trader does not use these BS margins of $500/contract; a reasonable choice is more like $10,000, which would limit a 50K account to (drumroll) 5 contracts . By coincidence, that is the contract limit in a "50K" TST Combine.

Now, if we're talking about your own self-funded account, and your wife (or your risk manager, or your own level of risk tolerance) only lets you lose $3,000 out of that, the correct, full description is that you have 5 contracts you can trade, and a loss limit of $3,000, and you put up 50K in capital to get there. If you have a TST funded account, you will have, say, 5 contracts you can trade, and a loss limit of $3000, and you put up zero capital to get there. The difference is that you didn't have to find any money to back the account. But in terms of what you can do with it, the important factors are the contract and loss limits.

Your ability to make money, or not, depends on the number of contracts and the loss parameters. It does not depend on a hypothetical equivalent account balance. The funded account starts with a zero account balance, and TST sets your contract and loss limits, which is what matters.

So long as it's clear what you're saying, I have no problem with how you describe this situation. If you want to say there is an effective balance that is equal to the loss limit, and if you are clear about it, fine. There is really no point to be won or lost here: the factual situation is that you have "x" number of contracts and "y" amount of loss limit, and that's what you have to work with. If you can make money with this, go ahead. If not, you'll find out.

If someone wants to say that these account parameters are not a good idea, and does the math to show it and lays out his assumptions, that's also fine, and it's really the point. I think it's obvious that you would need to be very good as a trader -- you would then need to make your own decisions about whether this path would work for you. (News flash: it won't for most people. But neither will opening your own 50K account, or 3K account, or anything else either. A small number of traders are going to succeed at trading, and that's just the reality of it.)

How about if the loss limit were higher? There are many strategies that allow a trader to have a big drawdown because that trader will also ultimately have a net larger profit (it is hoped.) If that's you, then don't bother with TST. Many strategies involve holding for swings of several days. If that's you, then don't bother with TST. We could go on and on about what would or would not work under the TST rules. On the other hand, if the loss limit were higher, I would confidently predict that many traders would still hit it, and just lose more before tapping out. Some would also say that it's unfair that they aren't allowed to lose more....

A person has to figure out how to make their own strategy work, and make their choices about how to profit and manage loss, and find how they're going to do it in the real world. If your path is TST, or if it's not, who cares?

Bob.

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  #852 (permalink)
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Tymbeline View Post
I hear you, and of course have seen many forum members saying this (both here and elsewhere), but I still think it isn't quite right, Pedro, because of a point it omits: that "$3k account" is one that has trading facilities you wouldn't realistically have with your own $3k.

I do think, however, that TST's nomenclature is unfortunate: they could perhaps have avoided these public discussions by referring to it as a "3-contract account" rather than as a "$30k account", etc.(?).

Precisely. Took a lot fewer words to say it than I did, too.

Bob.

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  #853 (permalink)
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matthew28 View Post
I just had a look at your journal. You don't seem to be posting your daily/weekly/monthly profits either.
I bet that is because actually it is nobody else's business. There is no reason why you or anybody else should post the details of their profits just to satisfy anonymous critics on the internet. For those funded by somebody else it is not their job to have to promote the company on internet forums.

What I find interesting about the TST monthly funded trader newsletter is how every name is one I don't recognise at all, somebody who isn't wasting their time on forums reading trading advice and tips from people of whom the vast majority can't actually trade successfully consistently themselves. It seems to me very few successful traders spend time on forums probably because:

a) There are no successful traders, it's all a scam.
or
b) There is no upside as anybody who details their success will suddenly find they have a new full time job helping people on one hand and defending themself from abuse on the other.

As reputations take a long time to make, and are very quick to lose I also have no doubt over the company's marketing (no question mark). If the funded trader data they were publishing was made up that would be found out very quickly.

Totally agree with this. I would add that no opinion ever seems to be changed, either.

As to anyone publishing their live trading results, almost no one will, because it really is no one else's business. You do see real-time publication of real results in some trading journals, but not many. Nor will you, so nothing will ever be resolved in this way.

Bob.

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matthew28 View Post
I just had a look at your journal. You don't seem to be posting your daily/weekly/monthly profits either.
I bet that is because actually it is nobody else's business. There is no reason why you or anybody else should post the details of their profits just to satisfy anonymous critics on the internet. For those funded by somebody else it is not their job to have to promote the company on internet forums.

What I find interesting about the TST monthly funded trader newsletter is how every name is one I don't recognise at all, somebody who isn't wasting their time on forums reading trading advice and tips from people of whom the vast majority can't actually trade successfully consistently themselves. It seems to me very few successful traders spend time on forums probably because:

a) There are no successful traders, it's all a scam.
or
b) There is no upside as anybody who details their success will suddenly find they have a new full time job helping people on one hand and defending themself from abuse on the other.

As reputations take a long time to make, and are very quick to lose I also have no doubt over the company's marketing (no question mark). If the funded trader data they were publishing was made up that would be found out very quickly.

I think you're quite correct Matthew.

Well said.

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matthew28 View Post
As reputations take a long time to make, and are very quick to lose I also have no doubt over the company's marketing (no question mark). If the funded trader data they were publishing was made up that would be found out very quickly.

To add just one thing, I also have no doubt about whether the TST program is on the up and up, or whether they provide exactly what they offer.

It's easy to say, on the internet, that "It's a ripoff" (you can say that no matter what "it" is, and someone will agree with you.) A considered assessment of whether what they offer is a good thing for you is another matter. I think it can be, for some, but I'm trying to be neutral on this point. But the evidence of many who have had direct dealings with them, and of my own dealings with them, leaves me with no question about their honesty.

This probably will not be a view that will go unchallenged, since "It's a ripoff" is so easy to say, and always has many supporters. I just thought I'd put it in here.

Whether to go the TST route is still an individual question, and it will not be "yes" for everyone. But it's a matter of what's right for you, not whether they are above-board, in my view.

Bob.

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bobwest View Post
Precisely. Took a lot fewer words to say it than I did, too.

Hey, I can do it in one, not very long sentence:

The average trader is set up for failure by the small allowed loss by TST, and those very good traders who could succeed in spite of that, don't need TST's backing anyway.

That we could call the Catch of 22 of TST's business model (aka controversy)...

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Pedro40 View Post
Hey, I can do it in one, not very long sentence:

The average trader is set up for failure by the small allowed loss by TST, and those very good traders who could succeed in spite of that, don't need TST's backing anyway.

That we could call the Catch of 22 of TST's business model (aka controversy)...



bobwest View Post
I would add that no opinion ever seems to be changed, either.



Bob.

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I think there's another facet that I briefly mentioned in my video that I'm not really seeing the discussion on. It's not just the drawdown. It's the time.

You could trade a strategy that is extremely low risk, and you would eventually hit the profit target. However, how many strategies that would fit the rules allow you to pass within a month? We know that there are significantly less because at one time you had to pass within a month, and they removed that rule.

And this matters because it completely changes the investment. It's a little different when you realize that you're talking 2 months of time lost for every failed combine and $300 instead of $150. Then you have to do it three times, and if it doesn't work you're back to square one with half a year gone.

Which I'm sure is why they're offering resets now. Because the truth is there's a bit of luck involved in getting all the way through without the max drawdown. Many of the guys that are passing lose their accounts because they just happen to hit a good streak at the right time. There's a good chance even with a solid strategy that drawdown could hit, and so you have the reset to save you time. In my view the reset is an admission that an effective strategy is still likely to hit. Because of this I feel it's a little shady that their current discounts are all packages that give you resets for a price higher than just a simple combine fee.

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TWDsje View Post
Many of the guys that are passing lose their accounts because they just happen to hit a good streak at the right time.


Comments like this (though I agree with it completely, and am perfectly aware that a few people will get as far as a funded account without adequate skills, simply because they got lucky twice, once in the Combine and once in the FTP), make me feel quite sorry for TST: they're kind of "damned if they do; damned if they dont", regarding most of the criticisms made about them, in forums.

Generally, I find it helpful, when reading adversely intended comments about TST's selection procedures, to ask myself something like "Now, if I were putting my own money on the line to fund more-or-less anonymous traders anywhere in the world, with very low qualification thresholds, would I want to do that or something very similar, to protect my capital?"

But you have to feel some sympathy for them: so many people seem (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary!) to imagine that they're trying to make sure as few people as possible get funded that when you see someone observing (rightly, as I mentioned) that some people just get through with some good luck, it's a kind of "ironic twist", in a sense.

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Hello All,

I am working on an automated (intraday) strategy system in NT to pass the TST combine and get funded and remain funded. TST allow automated trading systems and I am back testing a few strategies for the $50k account with $3K profit target and $2K drawdown.

So far the strategy is programmed with all the rules (i.e., max daily loss and close positioin by end of the day)

The problem I am seeing is the drawdown. I am training a few strategies on historical data from 2006 to 2009 (out of sample) and although somewhat good curve fitted profitable results, the drawdown exceeds the $2k drawdown at TST. Even the drawdown on the $150k account, yet the strategy is profitable. The drawdown I am seeing in back test is like $9K.

I do not want to ruin the in sample data (2010 through 20XX) just yet until I figure out what to do about this $2K drawdown.

Any thoughts, suggestions, or comments.

Thanks

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