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What are the Consistency Rules for PA and Funded Accounts?

Darrell Martin
Darrell Martin
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*THIS PAGE HAS UPDATED DETAILED INFORMATION ON RECENT CLARIFICATIONS OF RULES*

NOTE--Apex has NOT changed or added new rules! These rules have always been in the PA Contract!

Evaluations Accounts do not have a consistency rule. The Evaluation is to test ability to generate profit goals and to see how a trader can handle a simple Evaluation for a handful of days and how to beat a " Trailing Drawdown" THAT is the Test! You know it is there, know how it works, can you simply take a few minutes to figure out how to adjust your trading and handle that curveball? Because markets will throw you curveballs all day...without a heads up!

However, PA and Live Accounts have consistency rules as explained below. You will understand the consistency rules by first reading what Apex Trader Funding wants and doesn’t want.

For PA and Live Funding Accounts:

As a partnership, Apex is in search of reputable traders who show their abilities to grow their accounts at a STEADY, building, compounding pace. 

Growing your account this way exemplifies the discipline of a consistent strategy that is traded ongoing day-to-day. Not the erratic trading with wild swings up and down, or having unrealistic profit amounts that are not realistic in real-time markets.

Trader funding and paid performance is designed to be a long-term relationship.

Apex wants to fund and pay out traders who follow a consistent plan in size, stops, and targets. This means not trading the maximum or larger-than-usual contracts on one trade, while trading micros for the rest of their time. Apex doesn’t want traders who flip contracts just to show a trading day, constantly change sizes, or do high-frequency trading. Simply put Apex Wants Traders- Not Gamblers- Scammers- Schemers- Or those looking to take advantage and just work the system!

 

Risk Management - Stop Losses- Profit Targets- Trailing:

Access to Company “risk capital” scenario is a great opportunity to “partner” with Apex for a Trader Funding relationship. But this is oftentimes misused, abused, and taken advantage of to “blow” through risk capital, forcing all risk and loss on the Company while trying to set up windfall payouts to schemers. This is not a scenario the Company can allow for potential move to a Live Funded Account. This is the opposite of disciplined, consistent traders. Trading with no stop and letting the Trailing Threshold limit, “blow the account” strategy is prohibited. Taking advantage of Company sales promos to stockpile discounted “back up” Eval accounts to use and abuse to “cycle through” for full stop loss in attempt to gain, is a Prohibited strategy and will not result in funding or payouts, but in forfeit.

 Every good trader or good system uses stop losses in some way or form. Every Prop Firm requires some type of stop, target or trailing, and risk management rules. Every true system or strategy has a set amount as an initial stop loss upon entry, especially scalping strategies. For example, going for a 10 tick scalp profit target, having an initial stop of 30 ticks. So, risking 30 ticks, in order to make 10 ticks. Or shooting for 20 ticks in profit, with stop loss of 60 ticks. In this scenario risking three times the amount of the profit you are targeting.

 With trending or longer term strategies the exact target is not always known. The market could go ten ticks or ten points. This is where it is important to have an initial stop loss, the initial amount you are willing to risk, in order to see the potential gain you could make. It is always recommended to trail your stops / exit points as the market goes in your favor and riding a big trend. Sure, give room for your profits to run, but make sure to move up stops to not give it all back. Protect some of the profits and take some off the table, do not give it all back. This is good risk management!

Required:

Risk Management be in place that is appropriate for the stats and historical back tested stats of your strategy or system’s profitability.

 

Know where you would get out if you are wrong, and where you would get out or start trailing your profits if you are right and know this ahead of time before you enter the trade. Have a plan, a system, a set of risk to reward ratios that statistically work!

Risk to Reward Ratios between 3-4 times the amount of potential targeted profit targets are acceptable to Apex without Red Flag. Slight overages will be reviewed and acceptable based on consistency, history, no existence prohibited activity, or account cycling

Example: If you are targeting to make $100 in profit…..do not risk more than $300-$400 as your initial stop loss.

Honor your stops, do not move them backwards to potentially lose more than your strategy accounts for. Can always move stops forward to trail and protect profits, trail profits and let profits run, but do not move them backwards and risk more. Simply have a systematic plan and stick to it. Do not gamble “in hopes” it will come back.

Stops and take profits can be placed upon trade entry with ATM strategies, then adjusted and moved up to trail and protect. Or programmed within the ATM Strategy to do so.

Stops and take profits can be manually placed after trade has been entered, then managed and moved up.  

Or stops and take profit levels can be “mental planned / known levels”, meaning you are NOT required to enter the limit order stops or profit targets on your chart. This is not a requirement (unless on a Probation status).

“Mental Stops” mean that you know your system or strategy, know how to read the market, and know ahead of time, before an entry, how you would manage the trade, and you are ready to manage it!

Trader would know: Where would entry be, where would I get out, where would I take profit, where would I start to trail, and is prepared and capable of managing with discipline.

The point here is to have a strategy, system, stats, a plan, a management system in place to assure good risk management rules within the 3-4 times risk guidelines and abide by that.

This is a COMMON Sense thing for any SOLID Trading Strategy and for statistics to be profitable. This is something that any trader would do in their own real live funded account with their own money in it. 

Big difference of knowing where exit would be ahead of time VS entering, then figure it out. That is not a style of risk management that Apex has interest in funding.

This is NOT monitored or calculated on a trade by trade basis!

There is no need for questions or approval for every individual trade scenario! Do not send tickets to the Help Desk, or inquiries on Social Media or discord about individual trade / day situations. This is prohibited and misuse of these support rooms. 

This is NOT monitored or calculated on a daily basis. So, no need for concern about a particular day you scaled into a big move or one special circumstance.

This will be a back end systematic monitoring that catches repeat offending red flags, and reviews for base lines a few times per month to identify and review or if coupled with other prohibited activity.

This is NOT an item that is critiqued to the decimal point. It is simply good common sense in trading to use good risk management and assure it is in place without abuse of program.

This WILL be monitored and automated reports are created that track average number of ticks in profit vs average number of ticks when a loss is shown. It does take into account blown accounts as well, or cycled accounts. Multiple proprietary tools will be used to monitor and assure good risk management in place and to prevent against fraud and schemes.

Most times risk / reward in and of itself is not an action item of Compliance unless coupled with other prohibited activity and concerns or for multiple repeat offenses.

Prohibited:

Non Existence of Risk Management Rules

No stop loss or exit plans in place or planned

Going for very small ticks in profit but using large stop losses or the entire Apex Account as stop loss. This is not trading, this is gambling.

Example: 5 tick profit target-150 tick stop loss. Claiming that the 3-4 times risk parameters were in use but happened to close trades out early. Yes, this will happen at times, but when it shows to be 95% of the time, it is a way to hide a scheme. This will result in forfeiture of Probation. Stockpiling of back up Evaluation accounts just to be able to move over to PA quickly to replace the ones constantly blown by having bad risk management and cycle through carelessly and blow them, risking Apex funds, in an inappropriate manner.

Any trading, risk management strategy, scam, scheme or implementation that does not show to be a long-term relationship of consistency and steady growth for both parties

Trading and using risk management in a fashion you would not use in your own real live funded account at a Registered Broker

 

SCALING / ADDING INTO TRADES: Contractor / Trader may take initial entries according to strategy or system entry rules and add into it as the market moves their biased direction. For example, you enter a trade going Long. The market goes long, creating a positive PnL, and you feel the market is strong, will continue, or your system gives another entry signal or indication, so you enter another entry going long, whether it one contract or multiple, that is fine. Scaling into winning trades is allowed in the PA Account is understood that larger contract sizes overall will be used in this situation, which is acceptable. There is a difference in adding in additional size versus going all in at once for a windfall attempt with no strategy. Entering according to a rule, being right in the directional bias, seeing opportunity or signal for additional entries, for a continuing market, and be able to add to that in an attempt to ride the market and let your profits run is in line with a strategy. There was a plan, a reason, a directional bias that was correct. You were right, your system entry was accurate in direction, so you added in when the accurate direction was determined. This is an accepted action in the Apex PA Account. Now, what if your bias and system had been wrong in the immediate direction of the market move?

Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA): Dollar Cost Averaging, for this contract, is defined as the practice of entering a trade with a directional bias (or no bias- just entering to gamble) , and the market goes against you in the other direction, but continuing to enter more and more orders, multiple times, in the direction of the original order, even  while market continues and continues to go the opposing way. Note this is the opposite of the example above. Scaling into winning trades and adding more when you were RIGHT, versus, adding in more and more when you were wrong, in hopes of a turn around and to make up some losses from the initial entry being in the wrong direction, are two very different scenarios. The use of Dollar Cost Averaging with multiple additional entries is Prohibited and in breach of the Apex PA Account and can result in forfeit and closure of account.       

For Example: You enter long, and the market immediately moves 10-20 ticks short, against you. Your open PnL is negative and showing an unrealized loss currently. The market could continue going down against you, or it could have simply pulled down for a moment and may turn back in your favor, you do not know. So every “xxxx” ticks it goes against you, or every time you hit a certain level it goes against you, you continue to add more and more into a losing position. This trading practice is prohibited in the Apex PA Account. Yes, this strategy ends up working out many times for some people and the market pulls back up and can gain back losses and at times very nice profits once the trade closes out. It works, until it just doesn’t work! It is like having a 90% win rate system that makes you $10 every time. So after 9 trades you have a $90 profit. But that one trade day where the market keeps flying down and just doesn’t stop, can wipe out all the profits from the previous 9 or even 99 trades and wipe out a whole account. This is strategy that does not have long term sustainability and is often times misused and abused by gamblers, windfall traders, schemes, and those taking advantage of the Trader Funding Program

PERMITTED and ACCEPTED use of DCA Scenario: Apex will allow traders to enter one additional entry only into an open position that currently has a negative PNL. But only a single additional entry execution, after the initial entry, not multiple additional entries. Contract size of the additional entry is not regulated and is at the discretion of the trader, just be sure to keep good risk management practices. DCA has always been prohibited and listed as prohibited in the Apex PA contact and FAQ on the website. This allowance for one additional entry is an update and an “easing” of the restrictions.    

Example of this Permitted DCA Scenario:  Again, let’s say the system gave an entry signal to go long, so you enter a long position. The market then starts to go short, and moves against you for example 10 ticks. Could keep going short or could turn around. All traders have experienced a pullback in the market before it comes back in your direction of bias. Let's say for example 15 ticks below your original entry is a level of support. You can see that, read the market, have understanding of support / resist levels, Fibs, etc etc and could see a bounce from there. That is an understandable and valid possibility. There is reason, market reading, market understanding, planning and purpose. Not just randomly pressing buttons to enter more and more in hopes of lucking out. Again, trading Vs Gambling. So, you entered long, it has pulled back short, Apex will allow One single additional entry execution long, but not multiple execution. Multiple additional entries are prohibited and will be a violation of prohibited practices of this contract. There are no restrictions or guidelines on the contract size of that additional entry, reasons, levels, or tools used for determining entry point, timeframes, or distance from original entry. Just maintain risk reward in a responsible manner.

 

Only Directional Strategies with Bias and reason according to consistent strategy are Qualified- Contractor cannot place a non-directionally biased trade based on bracket orders in both directions: This means you cannot have a limit order to go long on one side and a limit order to go short on the other side, in hopes of the market breaking out one way and making profit. This is the exact opposite of disciplined and consistent trading of a set system. This is often the sign of the trader NOT having a system and just working the system in hopes of catching some big move, with no idea, bias, or rules of a system giving a direction reason of entry. News trading, chasing the market, taking advantage of breakouts with no directional bias system, morning open breakout trading, non-directionally biased breakout bracket trades, any attempt for "windfalls" without following a strict, set, systematic trading system that is traded normal day to day in the account is prohibited and any amounts accumulated during prohibited times or trades will be removed the account as outline in the PA Consistency section and video series found on the Company website FAQ section.

Copy or Trading Services Operations or Participations: PA and Live Prop Accounts must be traded by the actual individual listed on the account and not by any other party, person, system, automated trading bot, copy or trade mirror service. This will result in immediate breach of contract and closure of all accounts.

Max Contracts: Contractor shall not attempt to abuse the max contracts rule, by trading combined instruments to do max contracts multiple times, such as, 10 on ES and 10 on YM doing 20 on a 10-contract max as example or use of micro contracts in this attempt. Repeated abuse of this shall result in termination of the account with no refund or payout. 

Contract Size Consistency: Contract size consistency is a clear requirement in the PA Contract. This rule does not require that every single trade entry always be the same exact contract size no matter the situation. There may be times trades are added into, layered in, or micros added in, with valid reason, or times that trader may use mini contracts and other times micro contracts, but overall size and correlation should be consistent on average over multiple trades. This is in generality and overall time, not based on each and every trade individually. Take heart to understand the “spirit” of these guidelines.  Inconsistency in contract size can be a sign of inconsistent trading. If trader is following a systematic approach to trading, not gambling, not attempting windfalls, and not just executing a “withdrawal strategy” then there is no reason for these consistency guidelines to be of any concern or risk. Apex will not accept questions or requests for feedback on every possible scenario of scale, size, situation, “what if” or various systematic approaches. There is an unlimited number of scenarios. Simply understand and follow the “spirit” of this guideline to be in compliance. Be a trader, not a gambler or schemer, this will address 99% of any questions. Note the scenario below:

Those that start off trading in a new PA Account with larger contract size in hopes of lucky trades, windfalls, or just to overcome trailing drawdown, using large or max contract size, of trying to go for big move gains, and create big profit balance in the account, then shift down to smaller sizes will be disqualified. This is an attempt to work the system and usually results in many “blown” PA accounts in this windfall attempt until windfall is achieved. To avoid disqualification Contractor may be required to continue and trade ten trading days at the same level of contracts, size and targets, that were traded from the start to show consistency in size and average profits in order to be approved for a payout request. To start trading the account with a larger number of contacts, make a simulated balance increase, then go down in contract size just trying to get to withdrawal is not a qualified strategy and is grounds for forfeit and payout denial. A growing balance does warrant a growing and steady increase in contact size as the account balance and “cushion amount grow.” That is normal. The larger the profit balance and cushion, the more contracts are used, that makes sense.  A growing balance does not warrant decrease in size. This is not a valid strategy; this is fear of losing profit before a withdrawal due to not having discipline in a strategy. Now, if contractor starts off trading larger size, and does not make progress and the account balance decreases due to losses, then this situation does warrant the responsible and reasonable action of trading smaller size. Or once a withdrawal has been made and therefore a balance decrease, with less drawdown, definitely warrants smaller size being traded than before. Those that go through multiple PA Accounts, always starting off big, either to blow it and try again, or hope for a windfall, then figure out how to get to withdrawal time is a gambler, not a trader. Apex has no interest in funding this style of behavior. It is agreed and understood that any style of trading like this is prohibited and will be forfeited and denied payout requests until consistency is shown, or could result in a Probation Status. The way an account is traded from the start must be maintained ongoing up to payout or increased with growth, decreased with loss, not the opposite.  

30% Consistency

At the time traders submit a withdrawal request, the profit balance in the account cannot consist of more than 30% of the profit balance being from a single trading day, since the first trading day of the PA Account. The 30% rule no longer applies after your 4th month of withdrawals or once you have been moved to Live Prop Trading Account.  imply continue trading consistently until the 30% profit balance is no longer the case. The 30% rule is NOT a hard and fast rule for consistent traders, trading a defined system, with consistent amount of contracts, trades, trades per day and day to day ongoing consistency. It exists to discourage schemers, and traders who trade using an erratic, windfall, high-risk, all-in style of trading, then to just randomly trade while getting to a withdrawal period. 
(Note: This 30% rule is reviewed from Approval to Approval and that Companies discretion to approve or to require the profit balance to be above the 30% rule parameters and deny a payout.)

Max 20% Flipping

Any kind of flipping cannot make up more than 20% of a trader's trading days. Remember, Apex wants to see traders who are consistent, using normal day-to-day trading systems. Don’t ever use strategies in order to reach a payout request date or placing a trade “just to show a trading day.” 

 
Defined System with Set Rules:

Traders must have a defined strategy or system with set rules for entries, stops, targets, and trailing. They will follow their rules consistently and with discipline. Traders will use a normal day-to-day system that is set, tracked, and explainable upon request. Purposely and irresponsibly blowing multiple company accounts in an attempt for a “lottery style lucky windfall” is not the purpose or the intent of Apex Trader Funding. If you were funding a trader, you wouldn’t want your funds traded by an inconsistent trader who blows through many accounts.

Apex reserves the right to request detailed explanation as to the exact strategy or system being traded and to show marked up charts based on entries selected by Apex to show that these rules of entries, targets, stops, trails etc. are consistently followed day to day on trades. Apex also reserves the right to request a live Zoom session to view, monitor and assure compliance during a trading session or sessions. Or, to request, moving forward,  any number of certain days of recorded trading sessions showing the entries, with commentary as to why the entry was taken and step by step showing and providing commentary and explanation as to how it follows the rules of your strategy or system, tools or indicators used, platforms, and contract amounts,  showing consistency with all of the other trade entries from that day and prior days / weeks. 

News Trading

Apex strictly prohibits news trading in any way, shape, or form. This includes directional, straddles, strangles, riding the initial news burst, and entering a trade right before or after news, in order to ride a potential wave.

Traders may trade their normal trading system during news times, entering on standard entry rules they use each day. Traders may never be long in one account and short in another at the same time. This applies to your own accounts and in conjunction with other traders. Any group or partner schemes will result in complete closure and forfeiture of both party’s accounts and banning from the Apex Trader Funding website.


Automation

AI, Autobots, Algorithms, Fully Automated Trading Systems or software, High Frequency Trading (HFTs), or any other automated trading is prohibited on the PA or Live accounts.

It is strictly prohibited to use any type of hands-off, set and forget, set and walk away, trading continuously  24-hour-a-day as well as any other type of automation, including those listed above. Using those types of automation will cause the closure of the PA or Live account and forfeiture of all funds and balances.

Full trader monitoring and presence at all times must accompany the use of semi-automated software. This means the trader must be present, watching the trades, managing the entries and the settings on the semi-automated software. This software assists in placing a trade based on a set of rules that the trader is actively monitoring, adjusting the software for market moves, longs, shorts, pausing, news awareness, and market conditions, etc.

Semi-automated trading or a trade assistant should be turned off and on as market conditions begin to set up for a trade, or as they deteriorate. Remember, it is to be used as a means to help with the speed or accuracy of placing a trade, and not as a system that trades for you.

Hedging and Correlated Instruments: Contractor shall not trade one direction on minis and another direction on micros at the same time. Contractor shall not spread trade indices ie  long ES and short YM. All Apex accounts must be traded directionally only and never be both long and short at the same time in the same account or others in any correlated markets. For example all indices, metals, grains, or any instrument with correlation no matter the size i.e. micro, mini , etc  Meaning contractor can not be short NQ and Long ES under any circumstance.

No Sharing of MAC Addresses, Computers, IP’s, or Credit Cards, or Trade Copies and will result in Account Closure and forfeit or be required complete Additional Audits and verification to assure that only the named user is trading or accessing the account and assure contract compliance

 Company Code of Conduct

Traders agree to follow the Company Code of Conduct and to treat all staff, contractors, other traders, and third parties with respect and professionalism. This includes conducting yourself in a professional and positive manner at all times, in groups, social media, trading rooms, and any other environments.

 

 

*******These are some older videos, but help give insight as to the difference of a true Trading System and Strategy Vs Windfalls, Gambling or just working the system****

PA TRADING RULES AND CONSISTENCY- PA CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS:

 

 

QUALIFIED AND NON QUALIFIED PA ACCOUNT TRADING AND TRADE PLANS: 

 

 

 

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