There are now over 30 forex prop firms competing in the industry, offering traders a range of different funded accounts and opportunities to further their careers.
At the forefront of this industry is FTMO.
In such a fast paced industry with only a few years of operating, it can be hard to figure out which prop firms are the real deal and which companies are worth staying away from.
Over the last 2 years, I have been personally using FTMO, testing their challenges, funded accounts and everything you might need to know about the platform.
So, is FTMO legit?
Let’s find out…
- Who Are FTMO?
- The FTMO Challenge
- What Are The Rules Of The FTMO Challenge?
- Choosing Your FTMO Challenge
- The New FTMO Challenge For Swing Traders
- The Profit Split – 90% To You, 10% To FTMO
- Is The FTMO Challenge Realistic?
- The Free FTMO Challenge
- FTMO’s Reputation & Reviews
- The New FTMO Leaderboard
- Payment Proof – My Withdrawals From FTMO
- Custom Withdrawals
- The New FTMO Capital Scaling Plan
- What Support Does FTMO Offer To Traders?
- Education & Tools
- Tools For Traders
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How Owns FTMO? The Man Behind The Brand
- Conclusion – Is FTMO a scam?
Who Are FTMO?
FTMO are a prop trading firm based out of Czech Republic, mainly based in the Forex trading sector. In short, they provide up to $200,000 of trading capital to traders that can pass a fairly simple challenge.
The challenge is to prove you are a consistently profitable trader and if you are, in return, you are given capital, of which you keep up to 90% of the profits and FTMO keep 10%. The company essentially looks for profitable traders that just need funding and then gives them the tools and money they need.
They’re no doubt the largest prop fund in our Top Prop Firms List and have been my personal first choice for months now.
In premise, this sounds like an absolutely amazing idea. You’re trading someone else’s capital and keeping 90% of the profits made with absolutely no risk to yourself or your capital. Is it really as good as it sounds?
The FTMO Challenge
This is what you’re here for – the famous challenge. This is all that stands between you and a $200,000 funded trading account. So how does the challenge actually work and what’s the point?
The challenge is essentially a 2 step process to evaluate your trading ability. The first stage is the challenge, then the second stage is verification, to prove that the first time wasn’t just a stroke of luck.
The challenge and verification is taken on a demo account, the details of which will be emailed to you after purchasing a challenge from FTMO. You will be able to see your account statistics in your client portal and be able to track every aspect of the challenge until you ultimately pass or fail.
You may be wondering why they have a challenge? And why you have to pay for it? Well, frankly you have to pay for it because if people got an unlimited amount of trials, eventually they would win a $200,000 trading account even if they previously failed 100 times, just from pure luck.
The challenge is to prove they are giving $200,000 capital to a profitable trader, instead of wasting it on a trader that is just going to hit the maximum $20,000 drawdown in the first day and waste the companies money.
What Are The Rules Of The FTMO Challenge?
Choosing Your FTMO Challenge
When you sign up to FTMO and think about starting your challenge, you need to think of a few different options as it’s not just a default challenge.
- Your funding size, this can range between $10,000 and $200,000. The $10,000 challenge is much cheaper to take so this could be a good idea for beginner traders.
- The account currency, I would advise choosing EUR if you’re in Europe, or US if you are anywhere else in the world.
- Accounts have an aggressive or normal option. Essentially aggressive account challenges cost more money but allow you to have more drawdown on your account without losing the account. It doubles the max drawdown from 10% to 20%.
- Until August 2020, FTMO was partnered with a range of forex brokers like Blueberry Markets (click here for my full review). However, they have since removed all third party retail brokers and decided to offer their own trading solution, directly connecting traders to LPs which is considerably faster, cheaper and better than the majority of best choices in the market, as far as brokers are concerned.
The New FTMO Challenge For Swing Traders
FTMO has answered all of swing traders prayers in the new update. There is now a new FTMO Swing challenge where you are allowed to hold traders overnight and over the weekend without asking for permission, which used to be the meta.
The leverage is reduced down to 1:30, which is still absolutely plenty for swing traders. Previously all swing traders had to work with 5%ers instead, so this is a great move for FTMO and I’ll certainly be using this service myself!
The Profit Split – 90% To You, 10% To FTMO
FTMO has been known for having a 70% profit split since the birth of the online prop firm industry. Other competitors in the industry have modelled their offering on this number too. To stay ahead of the game, they are now offering up to 90% profit share for traders, keeping just 10% of your profits.
They are also now offering a capital scaling program, meaning you can increase the balance of your funded account by 25% once the criteria has been met.
This is by far the largest profit split in the industry and I’m very happy to see FTMO continually going above and beyond and smashing the boundaries they have set in this space.
Is The FTMO Challenge Realistic?
You may be wondering, is it actually possible to pass these challenges to get funded. Then even if you manage to get funded, is it possible to stay funded? The answer is, frankly, it’s very much possible but it can be very hard for 95% of traders.
Most traders fundamentally lack emotional strength and discipline, along with a solid risk to reward and risk management plan. For this reason, the majority of forex traders are going to fail over the long term, sadly.
However, if you are consistently profitable trading your small account – there is absolutely no reason that the FTMO challenge won’t work for you!
In fact I would actually argue that FTMO can make you a better forex trader, as you are forced to abide by the rules of the account like drawdown etc, which force you to only take high quality trades.
The ONLY real downside of the strict rules is that you aren’t able to hold traders over the market weekend close, unless you use the new swing trader challenge. During the standard challenge, you are allowed to hold trades over the weekend market close with absolutely no problem at all.
Once you are funded, by Wednesday night you must write to FTMO asking for permission to hold over the weekend, so they are able to assess the risk and any hedges needed.
To prove how realistic the rules and funding options offered actually are, a trader has just received a $70,000 payout from the company – this is by far the largest I’ve ever seen!
The Free FTMO Challenge
Thinking of trying you luck in the FTMO Challenge? Well, if you are on the fence, they now offer a FREE challenge for you to take part in! This challenge is a shortened version of the real challenge, but completely free.
The point of this is to perfect your trading and make sure you’re actually able to pass the challenge, before paying for the real thing. If you fail this challenge, you don’t lose anything. If you pass this challenge, you sadly don’t get any funding as it’s only the free challenge but it sets you up with the confidence to take the real thing.
Whenever I have finished backtesting a new forex trading strategy I actually take a free FTMO challenge, to test the strategy. If I fail the challenge because of the drawdown or violating the maximum loss restrictions, I know I’m not ready to pay for the real $100,000 account.
To get involved, all you need to do is sign up, create an account on the website and await your email to come through! When you get sent through the account details, log in to your new MT4 account and get trading. With every trade taken, you’ll see your trading account results in your client portal in the Metrix.
If nothing else, the free challenge is a great fun way to test yourself and have real in-depth statistics about your trading!
FTMO’s Reputation & Reviews
The issue with prop firms are the fact that there have been a lot of scams over the years. Firms promising to give you a £500,000 account if you pass a challenge that costs £1000. The rules are extremely tight, you never pass that challenge and this is how the company makes all of its money.
For this reason it’s crucial to look at the reputation and reviews within the trading community so you can make a decision as to whether you think the funding company is worth the risk.
What does FTMO’s reputation online look like? Frankly, amazing. On Trustpilot they currently have over 1950 independent reviews with an average rating of 4.8/5. On Forexpeacearmy the company has over 400 reviews with an average rating of 4.55/5.
Take a look through the reviews and you’ll see that the large majority of traders are absolutely thrilled with the company, they’re getting funded, getting paid and better off than they were without FTMO! Many traders have actually taken multiple $200,000 challenges and built up very large portfolios with the company over the last few months.
Alongside the usual trading review websites there is a huge amount of content about this prop firm on YouTube. Many well known forex traders like Hannah Forex for example have shown the whole process of signing up, taking a challenge, doing the invoices and actually getting paid from FTMO.
It’s really nice to see a lot of traders getting paid on social media and being able to earn a full time wage from their part time hobby of forex trading. In this video Hannah shows her first withdrawal ever from FTMO, definitely give it a watch if you’re skeptical!
The New FTMO Leaderboard
FTMO has a new ‘Leaderboard’ feature, which is relatively uninteresting for most traders but it does make for a very interested feature in my opinion. You’re able to see the equity and profit amounts from traders all around the world, separated in different regions.
I think this feature is amazing for newer traders seeking funding, to inspire them to keep plugging away at the forex industry as it really showcases the amazing profits that are actually obtainable.
This feature is now being replicated by any other forex prop firms within the industry, like The Funded Trader, for example. This is always the way – FTMO sets the standard for the industry and the other large companies tag along!
Payment Proof – My Withdrawals From FTMO
When choosing a prop firm, it’s important to trade with a company that is proven to be paying traders. I have had multiple payouts from FTMO and the process has always been extremely simple and quick compared to some other firms on our top prop firms list.
In my experience, payouts are always processed same day and the support team were there to assist me with any questions I had during the withdrawal process.
To date, I have had 5 withdrawals from FTMO, all of which came with no hassle. Payouts were processed extremely fast and the finance team even reached out to me, to offer any assistance if needed!
FTMO are a bit of a thought leader in this space. Whereas most prop firms allow a withdrawal at the end of the month, providing the threshold has been met, FTMO are now offering payments on demand.
You are able to setup exactly when you want to get paid every month! This isn’t going to make a huge difference to a lot of traders but it’s just proof of the company, once again, going above and beyond to provide a real partnership with traders, rather than just a prop firm.
The New FTMO Capital Scaling Plan
In recent months, the scaling plan offered by industry leading prop firms has been becoming more of a talking point. With companies like BluFx, it was time for FTMO to show the industry what they could do!
FTMO has released a new capital scaling program offering growth of 25% every 4 months. In order to be eligible for the capital scaling, traders must reach 10% profit in 4 consecutive months. There has to be profit made monthly on your side, which may look like 2% on month 1, 3% on month 2, 4% on month 3 and 1% on month 4.
It’s important to note that the account balance must also be above the original starting balance in order to request capital scaling. With this incentive, every 16 months (depending on how you compound your profits), your trading account will double in size! This is capped at a maximum of $2,000,000 per trader.
This scaling plan is so effective because FTMO use demo accounts and a proprietary algorithm to manage risk and place trades in the live markets, meaning you won’t actually be exposed to the live markets on your trading accounts!
This makes absolutely no difference on our side, as the traders, but allows FTMO to trust traders with larger amounts of capital.
What Support Does FTMO Offer To Traders?
Since you are actually using FTMO as your trading account, if you get funded of course, you want to know that you are able to get in touch with them whenever you need. Luckily FTMO has loads of potential ways to get in touch. I have personally used this prop firm and used multiple of the support options during this time.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: +44 2033222983
If you are based in Prague, they also have an office address and welcome traders to setup an appointment and go down to meet in person. It’s really great to see such transparency from a prop firm! The company also has 24/7 live chat support on the website, that I have found extremely useful over the last few months. It’s also worth noting that this support is offered in 13 languages.
I actually had a free second attempt at one of my challenges as I nearly hit the profit target but was just slightly short on the last day. I contacted the live chat and the email support team and within less than 2 hours they had reset my account, sent me over some new MT4 details and I was back trading the challenge again!
If you look through all of the various forum and Youtube videos about FTMO you’ll see that this wasn’t just my experience, the support team is really good!
Education & Tools
FTMO wants you to succeed, when you’re making money, they’re making money too. For this reason they offer a great amount of tools and education for traders to succeed and get profitable in the forex markets. To be completely honest the majority of forex content can be found online for free this day and age, most people don’t tend to pay for content, but that’s not the point! So what do they actually offer, let’s find out…
Tools For Traders
More importantly than the education, FTMO offers a range of complex tools that have helped my trading tremendously. These tools are all accessible in the client portal of the website once you have started a paid challenge and they are all free to use! These include…
- Metrix – This looks at every trade taken, drawdown, profit, loss, times of trades, pairs and compiles all of the stats. Much like MyFxbook but, well, good.
- Statistical App – This app looks at the probabilities of different scenarios happening on different pairs, to help you build out a profitable trading edge.
- Account Analysis – Much like the Metric app, but in a lot more detail! This can definitely help you understand your trading, behaviours and level up your profitability in the markets.
- Trading Journal – This is as it sounds, a trading journal where you can upload images to the trades you’ve taken. This really helps understand the setups, refine your edge and bring you closer to that $100,000 funded trading account.
- Mentor App – This app works on MT4 and MT5 and forces you to follow your trading plan and rule set, with a clever EA on the screen. It’s not the most useful tool for disciplined or professional traders but for your new traders just starting out, this is a really great idea!
- Equity Simulator – Much like it sounds, this lets you test different win rates and risk to reward averages to find out how equities on your accounts would grow and be effected. Definitely a really useful tool to have at your disposal.
Strictly speaking FTMO don’t offer their own education, but they do offer discounts and partnerships on some of the most popular forex education in the industry. These include…
- Ben Barker – BsAppsFx
- Etienne Crete – Desire To Trade
- Financial Source
- Tom Franklin – Spring Board Your Trading – Partnership removed
- VLADIMIR RIBAKOV – Divergence University – Partnership removed
- OTTO SCHLECHTER – 3MBO – Partnership removed
- RÜDIGER BORN – Partnership removed
I cannot personally vouch for any of these mentors as I’m not familiar with over half of them. None the less, feel free to check them out if you’re signed up with FTMO for one of the challenges as they can offer you quite a nice sized discount! Click here to see all of the educators they are partnered with.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does FTMO Allow EA’s?
FTMO does allow traders to use EA’s and bots in their trading. For the majority of retail trading EA’s, you’ll be perfectly fine. If you’re looking at using a high frequency trading bot, you may struggle due to liquidity issues and latency.
Does FTMO Allow Hedging?
FTMO does allow traders to hedge their trades.
Can You Lose Money On FTMO?
You cannot lose money on FTMO, in theory. You can only lose your initial fee that goes into paying for your FTMO challenge account. Once you have spent that money, you will not be able to lose any ‘real’ money. You’ll be trading FTMO’s capital at the point of being funded.
How Long Does An FTMO Withdrawal Take?
I have taken many withdrawals from FTMO and they’re usually processed and paid within 4 business days. This may vary depending on your withdrawal method and country but the payment processing team have always been very fast.
What Happens If You Fail The FTMO Challenge?
If you fail the FTMO challenge, you can purchase another challenge! You will lose your initial refundable fee when you fail the challenge. However, you are not limited to a certain amount of challenges and you can purchase as many as you like. If you don’t violate any of the criteria/rules and finish in profit (just not enough profit), you will receive another challenge for free!
Is FTMO Regulated?
Technically FTMO is not regulated by any governing body like the FCA as they are not a broker and do not operate in that vertical.
Is FTMO A Broker?
No, FTMO is not a forex broker.
Does FTMO Accept Crypto Withdrawals?
Yes, FTMO does accept crypto withdrawals from Confirmo.
How Owns FTMO? The Man Behind The Brand
The founder of FTMO, Otakar Suffner is very transparent in his role in the business. Throughout the huge growth FTMO has seen in the 2 years, Otakar has appeared in various interviews that can be found on YouTube.
This is really important to see and I’m personally a huge fan of the transparency that Otakar brings to the industry. As the original prop trading firm, I think it’s massively important for the company to pave the way for FTMO traders and other companies alike so we can see the industry is moving in the right direction.
With the lack of regulation within the industry, due to the fact we are all early adopters, I think it’s crucial for FTMO to show this transparency with the goal being a clean, regulated industry. FTMO are really the taste makers, in this sense.
What do I mean by this?
Well, let’s take the profit split and the profit target… Let’s even look at the minimum trading days and maximum trading period too… Otakar has set the standard here and it’s clear to see the this is being replicated across 90% of the other proprietary trading firms within the industry.
Conclusion – Is FTMO a scam?
In summary, if you’re looking for the opportunity for the legitimate and reputable company to give you $200,000 to trade with, FTMO is the company for you. They have an amazing reputation within the industry for actually paying out and honouring their word, alongside great customer support and functionality.
This isn’t some miracle way to get rich though – the FTMO challenge is no joke and it certainly is hard to pass and hard to maintain once funded. If you’re a serious trader, give it a go now! If you’re new to forex and not yet consistent, I would recommend taking one of the free trials to gage your ability and start working towards your $200,000 account.
If you have any experience with FTMO please do let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it!