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TopstepTrader's Michael Patak (President) - Ask Me Anything (AMA)
Started:February 8th, 2013 (07:49 PM) by Big Mike Views / Replies:113,181 / 875
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TopstepTrader's Michael Patak (President) - Ask Me Anything (AMA)

Old September 12th, 2015, 10:59 AM   #581 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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Surprise View Post
I dont get this part : "There is a two month minimum commitment, unless you meet the Combine Objective in the first month."

If you sign up for a Continuous Combine, they will automatically charge you the monthly fee every month. You are committed to making at least two monthly payments. However, if you pass the Combine before the second month's fee becomes due, then you will not be charged for it, since the Combine itself will be over and you will go on to either a funded account or, at their discretion, a Funded Trader Prep.

After you have made the minimum two payments, if you want to opt out of the continuing monthly subscription, you can email them at their support email address and have the Combine cancelled. I believe they ask for three days notice before the next payment is due -- check the website for details.

Additional info, although you haven't asked: if you blow up the Combine by losing more than the daily loss limit or the trailing max drawdown, or some other rule violation, the Combine becomes a practice account with a live data feed, but is not eligible for funding. You will still be charged on schedule unless you cancel after the two payments. If you wish, you can "Reset" the Combine, which returns it to the initial state and original balance, and lets you be considered for funding if you meet the goals, but costs an additional $100. Resetting does not change the due dates of the subscription payments, and does not stand in place of the normal subscription payment. But if you've already made the second payment, you can just have the current Combine cancelled and start up a new one without the Reset fee.

This is kind of involved, and yes, it does mean paying money, but don't blame me, I'm just the messenger.

It's all explained somewhere on the site....

Bob.

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Old September 12th, 2015, 11:19 AM   #582 (permalink)
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bobwest View Post
If you sign up for a Continuous Combine, they will automatically charge you the monthly fee every month. You are committed to making at least two monthly payments. However, if you pass the Combine before the second month's fee becomes due, then you will not be charged for it, since the Combine itself will be over and you will go on to either a funded account or, at their discretion, a Funded Trader Prep.

After you have made the minimum two payments, if you want to opt out of the continuing monthly subscription, you can email them at their support email address and have the Combine cancelled. I believe they ask for three days notice before the next payment is due -- check the website for details.

Additional info, although you haven't asked: if you blow up the Combine by losing more than the daily loss limit or the trailing max drawdown, or some other rule violation, the Combine becomes a practice account with a live data feed, but is not eligible for funding. You will still be charged on schedule unless you cancel after the two payments. If you wish, you can "Reset" the Combine, which returns it to the initial state and original balance, and lets you be considered for funding if you meet the goals, but costs an additional $100. Resetting does not change the due dates of the subscription payments, and does not stand in place of the normal subscription payment. But if you've already made the second payment, you can just have the current Combine cancelled and start up a new one without the Reset fee.

This is kind of involved, and yes, it does mean paying money, but don't blame me, I'm just the messenger.

It's all explained somewhere on the site....

Bob.

Ok i understand so if i fail to pass from the first month i still have to pay for a second month and i don't have an option ok ok ...

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Old September 27th, 2015, 02:37 PM   #583 (permalink)
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For people thinking over Topsteptrader program or going through LTP/FTP


Hello.

This is both a review and a complaint, so I am still hopeful to hear a meaningful answer from Topsteptrader people after my unfortunate attempts in their chat room and via email.

I have been doing Combines for some time and passed a $30K one in August. I was prepared for the possibility of having to go through Live/Funded Trader Preparation (LTP) so wasn't too surprised when I was told I needed one.

Here is the main part official email they send out with all rules and requirements:

"After reviewing your Trading CombineŽ, our firm is prepared to provide you with a funded account pending your performance in Funded Trader Preparation. Your account parameters will be identical to that of the funded account. Use this time to get comfortable with the transition. Below are your account parameters and the objective of the account.

Account Parameters

Trading Platform: NinjaTrader

Duration: Until profits of $750 are established (minimum of 10 trading days required, maximum of 60 calendar days)

Starting Balance: $0

Daily Loss Limit: $500

Max Drawdown: $1,500 (account may not drop below Trailing Max Drawdown)

Products to Trade: E-Mini Nasdaq, E-Mini Dow, Crude Oil

Trading Hours (in Central Time): (same as permitted times consistently traded during successful Combine)
Start time: 7:00 am
Stop time: 3:10 pm

Objective: Follow the Rules (below) and profit $750

Always implement stops with an open position
Only trade permitted products, during the permitted times (as listed above)
Achieve an Average Net P&L greater than $0 for each product traded (enforced after 10 trading days)
Achieve at least 45% Profitable Days (enforced after 10 trading days)

Ensure your Largest Losing Day will not hit or exceed Daily Loss Limit
Ensure your Account Balance will not hit or exceed your Trailing Max Drawdown
Do not hold positions into major economic releases
Follow the funded trader scaling plan"


My complaint/review is based solely on my understanding of these rules (meaning I didn't have any questions when I started my LTP) and I accept that some people will have a different read on the situation. But I also know after trying to get clarifications in Topsteptrader Squawk chat room (from moderators and CEO), that some people also find wording unclear.

I highlighted parts which I would like to discuss further.

First: "Your account parameters will be identical to that of the funded account". I am pointing out that what happened to me in my LTP may easily happen to traders who go straight into Live account after passing their Combine.

And more interesting: "Achieve an Average Net P&L greater than $0 for each product traded (enforced after 10 trading days); Achieve at least 45% Profitable Days (enforced after 10 trading days)". For some people it may be as clear as day. But based on my read, I expected my trading results to be checked after 10 trading days and if all the requirements were met, I could trade until the 60day dead-line or until target was reached.

What happened though was different. At the end of day 10 (Septermber 18) I had positive PnL in all three products I traded and other requirements were also met. I thought the tricky bit was over as I would have more freedom to trade under less scrutiny. On day 11 I had two losing trades (one in YM and one in NQ) and my PnL for YM went negative (-$97 overal).
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I didn't think my LTP was going great, but hey is it that terrible being flat PnL after just over one month of trading under restrictions? Anyway, I came in on day 12 and to my surprise my account was blocked. Here is the answer I received from Topsteptrader via email after I asked for clarification of what happened:

"Achieve an Average Net P&L greater than $0 for each product traded (enforced after 10 trading days) means that you must have and maintain a positive account balance for each of the products that you are trading after the 10th trading day. After the 10th day of trading in your Combine, you had a negative balance trading the ES." (should be YM, not ES. they corrected mistake in the next email)

So to sum up. My LTP "failure" was caused by my wrong interpretation of rules, I accept. But essentially, "you must have and maintain" means if you don't have much of PnL cushion and your % of profitable days is not higher than 50% after 10 days, you practically don't have any downside to trade with. You can go out, like I did, based on one day performance.

Now, I don't have any problems with this rule per se, rather with its wording in the LTP email and on Topsteptrader website. I have no complaints on how my LTP was judged and I understand that mentioned rules can be read as intended. But shouldn't it be Topsteptrader's main priority to make rules and requirements as clear as possible, especially considering how crucial these details may be to success in their program?

Quite disappointing was the way Topsteptrader addressed my query, even though I never complained about the decision but only asked for clarification. The most common answer I received has been" "In writing (email), we laid out all the Rules of the Funded Trader Preparation for you. In addition to that, we provided you with a phone number to call if you had any question".

Simply telling me they have a phone number? Really? From a business that relies so much on people's striving to get funded I expected a more understanding and flexible approach.

I also think that if they changed the wording and explained the rules more clearly (as they did in the email reply to my query) it could impact traders' decisions on strategies they use (at least), and maybe even would make Topsteptrader more transparent in terms of what sort of traders they look for.

As I mentioned, I had a chat with other traders in Topsteptrader Squawk room and they also shared my frustration about possible interpretations of the rules, so I know it's not just me. Obviously I have no idea how big the scale of the problem is and would be interested to hear opinions. Please, any Topsteptrader supporters, don't tell me how clear the rules are or that I need to stop blaming everyone and work on my trading. This is simply a matter of transparency and good customer service.

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Old September 27th, 2015, 03:52 PM   #584 (permalink)
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isla View Post
And more interesting: "Achieve an Average Net P&L greater than $0 for each product traded (enforced after 10 trading days); Achieve at least 45% Profitable Days (enforced after 10 trading days)". For some people it may be as clear as day. But based on my read, I expected my trading results to be checked after 10 trading days and if all the requirements were met, I could trade until the 60day dead-line or until target was reached.
...
Please, any Topsteptrader supporters, don't tell me how clear the rules are or that I need to stop blaming everyone and work on my trading. This is simply a matter of transparency and good customer service.

Well, since you asked not to be told this, you may not like my reply.... but I mean you no ill-will at all. It's just that I don't see how "You must have a positive balance (enforced after 10 trading days)" can mean anything other than, "You must have a positive balance after 10 trading days." Your reading of the phrase seems to mean that after 10 trading days, they will check it once and then not enforce it any more, not that they will start to enforce it then.

That said, it sucks that you believed you were doing well, but understood the rules differently from the way they meant them.

I don't think there was anything wrong with their phrasing, but if either Michael ( @TopstepTrader ) or @Hoag read this, it might be more clear to change the wording to "You must have and maintain a balance greater than $0 after 10 trading days," or something like that. It's the same, but it's a little more direct, which is always a good idea.

Again, I'm sorry you had this happen, and I'm not writing as a Topstep supporter or partisan. I would be happy to critique them if I agreed....

Since you've proven you can trade well, I hope you will go on and trade successfully in the future, either with Topstep or on your own.

Good luck, whatever you decide on doing.

Bob.

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Old September 27th, 2015, 09:01 PM   #585 (permalink)
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While I would have read that message as intended, I can TOTALLY see why you read it as you did. I agree they should possibly look at rewording it just to eliminate any ambiguity. Nothing worse than thinking you are smashing something then be told you are not.

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Old September 27th, 2015, 09:25 PM   #586 (permalink)
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TraderFish View Post
While I would have read that message as intended, I can TOTALLY see why you read it as you did. I agree they should possibly look at rewording it just to eliminate any ambiguity. Nothing worse than thinking you are smashing something then be told you are not.

I basically agree with this. I wouldn't have seen it the way @isla did, but since it has been honestly taken that way, rewriting it would be a good thing for @TopstepTrader to do.

The "enforced after 10 days" wording is clear enough to me, but is slightly strange. Why not just, "After 10 days you must have a positive balance in all instruments every day." It's impossible to misunderstand that, and it is not even slightly strange. Who cares when they "enforce" something.... just tell me what to do. Then there can be no mistaken understandings, and we're all on the same page.

And again, I'm terribly sorry @isla had this disappointment, and I hope that I was not unclear about that in my initial response.

Bob.

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Old September 28th, 2015, 12:22 AM   #587 (permalink)
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What a huge difference


bobwest View Post

The "enforced after 10 days" wording is clear enough to me, but is slightly strange.

Why not just, "After 10 days you must have a positive balance in all instruments every day."

It's impossible to misunderstand that, and it is not even slightly strange.
Who cares when they "enforce" something.... just tell me what to do.
Then there can be no mistaken understandings, and we're all on the same page.

WOW!!! THAT´S IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE FOR ME. As a foreigner that is MUCH more clear.
Actually, I understood today.


Last edited by MrTrader; September 28th, 2015 at 12:23 AM. Reason: typos
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Old September 28th, 2015, 09:45 AM   #588 (permalink)
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Given the complication of having to be positive in all instruments why would anybody choose to do a multi-instrument combine?

Is it necessary to then be able to trade multiple instruments if funded status is achieved?

p.s. I would still like to take the FDAX challenge if offered, that would be one beast enough, no other complications needed.

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Old September 28th, 2015, 09:50 AM   #589 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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ratfink View Post
Given the complication of having to be positive in all instruments why would anybody choose to do a multi-instrument combine?

Is it necessary to then be able to trade multiple instruments if funded status is achieved?

p.s. I would still like to take the FDAX challenge if offered, that would be one beast enough, no other complications needed.

My observation, over time, is that trading multiple instruments has done in many a Combiner and also many a Funded Trader Preper. Couldn't say about actually funded traders, but it makes sense to me to not be too spread out in the things you are attempting to be an expert at.

Anyway, it is not necessary to be able to trade multiple instruments to be in this game....

Bob.

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Old September 28th, 2015, 10:39 AM   #590 (permalink)
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It is really hard to do what they ask and trade multiple instruments. I would recommend sticking to your strongest one.

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