How To Become A Successful Prop Trader or Emerging CTA – Part 2 (of many parts)

I’d like to start this post with an inspirational quote for all of you who think that you need a certain amount of assets, or something to be just right before you begin your professional career as a trader.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. — Johann Goethe

Social Media

I’d start with LinkedIn and get recommendations from previous employers, clients, and senior managers if you can. They don’t have to be about trading specifically and these will become your professional online resume. On LinkedIn, create a unique URL for your name or company, here’s mine:

You can do the same with your Facebook Fan page, once you get 25 or more fans.

Having these probably won’t get you an allocation, but it will help you rank higher in natural searches on the internet. And that will make it easier for people to find you.

Also to consider is the fact that you can engage in conversations with your fans and those will be public. This is another way for you to show off what you know, but do it tactfully.

I’d put the LinkedIn URL in your D-Doc and your marketing material. Character recommendations are at a premium these days, so the more people you have saying good and LEGIT things about you, the better. Make sure that they are from Superior Officers so to speak. Having your buddy say “Great Guy. Always a pisser at the summer house” is probably something to shy away from.

Disclosure Document

I’d create Disclosure Document and have one in the spirit of all the NFA rules. That will go a long way and it says a lot about you.

Track Record

Compile your track record in the proper VAMI format. You can get the CTA Guide pdf free from the NFA website.

Once you have 3-6 months of actual trading performance, have a professional look at your performance to validate it. They are not necessarily audited, but are evaluated along the lins of what are known as Agreed Upon Procedures.

Elevator Talk

Is the small talk that leads to bigger things. The best answer I’ve ever heard to the question “What do YOU do?” is “I invest people’s money.”


The NFA makes its various membership lists available for sale by registration category. You can bifurcate the lists in many ways according to what your needs are and get the results parsed by zip code. If you’re going to be a CTA, then consider meeting (face-to-face) all the Pool Operators (CPOs), Introducing Brokers (IBs), and Futures Commissions Merchants (FCMs) within an hour or two of where you’re located, for example.

This is another reason why you’d want to be registered with the NFA yourself.

The next addition to this running series will be on Taking Meetings with Allocators.


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