Do Prop Firms Provide Real Accounts?

In the world of proprietary (prop) trading, a common question arises: Do prop firms give traders real accounts or demo accounts after passing the evaluation phase? The answer is nuanced and varies across firms. Understanding the dynamics of prop trading firms and their operational models can help clarify this question.

Evaluation Phase: The First Step

Prop firms typically require traders to pass an evaluation phase to demonstrate their trading skills and discipline. This phase often involves trading on a demo account with virtual funds. The evaluation is designed to mimic real market conditions closely, allowing the firm to assess a trader’s potential without risking actual capital.

Real Accounts vs. Demo Accounts

Once a trader successfully passes the evaluation, the type of account provided can differ among prop firms. Here’s a breakdown of the common practices:

  1. Real Accounts with Real Money:
    • Some prop firms offer traders real accounts funded with actual capital. These firms believe in the skills demonstrated by the trader during the evaluation and are willing to allocate real money for trading. This approach allows traders to experience the real market, including the emotional and psychological aspects of trading with actual funds.
    • Examples of firms providing real accounts include well-established names like SMB Capital and Jane Street, which typically operate on a traditional prop trading model where the firm’s capital is at stake.
  2. Demo Accounts with Profit Sharing:
    • Many newer prop firms provide what appears to be a real account but is essentially a demo account with profit-sharing mechanisms. In this setup, traders operate with virtual funds, and the firm simulates real market conditions. If a trader generates profits, they receive a payout as if the profits were real, funded by the firm’s operational capital.
    • This model is commonly seen with FTMO and MyForexFunds, where the trader’s performance determines their payout, despite trading on a simulated platform. This method helps firms manage risk and evaluate traders’ consistency over time.
  3. Hybrid Models:
    • Some prop firms use a hybrid approach where traders start on a demo account even after passing the evaluation and gradually move to a real account as they prove their profitability and consistency. This phased approach minimizes risk for the firm while eventually allowing traders to handle real capital.
    • Firms adopting this model often blend B-book (internalizing trades) and A-book (placing trades on the actual market) practices depending on the trader’s performance.
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Considerations for Traders

For traders evaluating prop firms, several factors should be considered:

  • Transparency: Understanding whether the account is real or simulated is crucial. Traders should seek transparent firms about their operational model and how profits are handled.
  • Payout Reliability: Whether trading on a real or demo account, the key concern is whether the firm reliably pays out profits. Reputable firms have clear and consistent payout policies.
  • Risk Management: Knowing the firm’s risk management policies, including maximum drawdown limits and profit targets, is essential to align with the trader’s strategies and goals.


Prop firms can offer real or demo accounts after the evaluation phase, depending on their business model and risk management strategies. While some firms provide real trading accounts with actual money, others use demo accounts with profit-sharing mechanisms to mitigate risk. Regardless of the account type, the crucial factor for traders is the firm’s reliability in handling payouts and maintaining transparency in their operations.

As with any financial decision, thorough research and due diligence are necessary when selecting a prop firm to ensure it aligns with the trader’s expectations and trading style.