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How did the evaluation industry start?

In this space, you’ve probably heard of TopStep® (originally TopStepTrader®). They formed in 2012 as Patak Trading Partners by Michael Patak – an ex-CME floor trader.

The story goes that there was a proprietary trading firm (“prop firm”) in Chicago that offered aspiring traders a “pay to play” test. Pay $500 and you could trade in their office for a day. If you made money within certain rules, you could become a trader in the firm. Many tried, few survived!

That model was brought online by TopStep and since this time, other evaluators have come to market with similar businesses. Some have added it onto existing educational offerings; others have entered just to extract money from the trading hopefuls and compete in what is a rather lucrative market!

Aside from futures, there are also companies offering evaluation and funding in forex and stocks. We concentrate on futures trading evaluators however, as futures are one of the best trading products available for the individual retail trader.

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