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42 Top Prop Trading Firms for 2021 [Surveyed]

Proprietary trading has become extremely popular with the dominance of technology-backed trading platforms.

We reached out to 50+ proprietary trading firms and ranked them based on their feedback of their top competitors.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Proprietary trading firms gained prominence after the late 80s alongside hedge funds. Before decimalization in the 1990s, Prop firms still had to be wired into the exchanges or the investment banks to place their trades. This is why prop firms were concentrated in the leading financial districts of Chicago, New York, San Francisco. They also required a physical office as well as specialized equipment like a Quotron or Bloomberg Terminal.

However, the advent of the internet and electronic trading has changed the face of Prop trading. They became well-capitalized and began to offer formal and comprehensive training programs for the traders to gain an edge over the others. After the financial crisis in 2008, the proprietary trading firms began to strengthen their risk management systems heavily.

Today, prop firms operate in two business models: broker-dealer or non-broker-dealer. If the firm accepts trading commissions as a source of revenue, it serves as a broker-dealer subjected to license and regulation. On the other hand, non-broker-dealer models do not have stringent regulatory requirements.

In exchange for using their capital, prop trading firms share the profit generated by the traders, which typically lies in the range of 10% and 30%. This percentage depends on the reputation of the firm, the trader’s account size, and the profit-generating capacity of the trader.

If you’re interested, you can read the following to learn more about proprietary trading.

Top Proprietary Trading Firms

The following are the top five proprietary trading firms as voted on by their peers.

  1. Jane Street
  2. Hudson River
  3. Optiver
  4. Tower Research
  5. Virtu

Aside from the top five, we’ve broken down the best prop trading firms by headquarters location in Alphabetical order below.

Best Chicago Proprietary Trading Firms

Chicago is the options capital of the world and the heart of the derivatives industry. The city is also known as the hub of proprietary trading.


3Red Partners

Strategy: 3Red Partners develops and deploys trading strategies with a scientific approach while leveraging cutting-edge research platforms and creating a scenario to generate maximum returns.

Description: 3Red is a prop trading firm that leverages technology and quantitative research to execute a diverse set of trading strategies alongside risk management and response to dynamic situations. It is a prop trading start-up with offices in Chicago and New York, but it has extensive, global experience in various asset classes and trading technologies.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago

Akuna Capital

Strategy: Akuna Capital majorly participates in derivative market-making and arbitrage.

Description: Akuna Capital was founded in 2011. Akuna is one of the few under-the-radar firms to act as an options market maker and liquidity provider. The firm has a significant share in derivatives trading and also a prominent presence in the cryptocurrency space. However, it also operates across a wide range of Commodities, Indices, Currencies, and Treasuries. Akuna continues to expand its trading operations globally.

Leadership:


Allston Trading

Strategy: The firm focuses on quantitative techniques and implements high frequency / low latency trading strategies in futures and cash markets. The company’s primary focus is bond and fixed income space, but it also has other asset classes such as equity index, agriculture, and energy. The firm has a market-beating approach that focuses on high-end technology.

Description: Allston Trading was founded in 2002 by former CME floor traders. It is one of the leading electronic trading and market-making firms that provide liquidity in the global commodity and financial futures markets. The firm invests massively in optimizing its systems and infrastructure to assure world-class trading performance and rapid technology development.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • Huston
  • London
  • New York

Belvedere Trading

Strategy: Belvedere Trading is actively involved in derivative market-making and arbitrage.

Description: Belvedere Trading is a leading proprietary trading firm located in Chicago. Since 2002, this firm has primarily operated in equity index and commodity derivatives.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago

Chicago Trading Company

Strategy: Chicago Trading Company is involved in core prop trading

Description: Founded in 1995, Chicago Trading Company is a proprietary trading firm composed of technologists, quants, operations professionals, and traders. The firm works within one of the most complex markets and focuses on constant innovation through collaboration.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • London
  • Hong Kong

Citadel Securities

Strategy: Citadel is involved in Options Market-Making and Quantitative Strategies. The firm operates through close integration of trading, quantitative research, and technology. The company also manages risk effectively and identifies opportunities to deploy capital optimally.

Description: Citadel Securities is a prop firm that applies systematic strategies across a diverse set of asset classes that includes equities, sovereign bonds, fixed income, credit, commodities, and currencies. Some of the other responsibilities are conducting research and analysis and evaluating financial instruments. Citadel employs a mix of fundamental, technical, statistical, and sometimes quantitative methods to support investment decisions.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • New York
  • London
  • Hong Kong
  • Toronto
  • Austin
  • Sidney
  • Zurich
  • Shanghai
  • Dublin
  • Singapore

DRW Trading

Strategy: DRW is a diversified trading firm that utilizes its capital for trading and manages its own risk. The firm leverages a mix of technology, risk management, and research to develop optimal investment and trading strategies.

Description: DRW is a technology-driven proprietary trading firm that trades across several asset classes and instruments leveraging different models.

Leadership:

Location:

  • Chicago
  • Amsterdam
  • Austin
  • Greenwich
  • Huston
  • London
  • Montreal
  • New York
  • Singapore
  • Tel Aviv

DV Trading

Strategy: DV Trading acts as a market-maker providing liquidity. The firm also adopts a global macro as a part of its strategy.

Description: DV Trading was founded in 2006 under the Rosenthal Collins Group in Toronto, Canada, but established as an independent company only in 2016. DV Trading now functions as a proprietary trading firm with a significant presence in derivatives and securities exchanges globally.

DV actively participates in the marketplace both on a liquidity provisioning and global macro basis. The firm’s DV Energy division also trades physical crude oil, refined products, and natural gas.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • Toronto
  • New York

Gelber Group

Strategy: Gelber Group has a unique approach to algorithmic trading places wherein it focuses on strategic partnerships where researchers, engineers, and traders collectively develop and optimize systems. The firm supports low latency-insensitive methods with an equal amount of focus on risk management.

Description: Set up in 1982, Gelber Group is privately funded and develops proprietary technology-based trading models for dealing in equities, cash, currencies, commodities, sovereign debt, futures, and related options markets.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • New York
  • San Diego

Geneva Trading

Strategy: Geneva Trading employs diversified trading strategies for the derivatives market. The prop firm focuses on generating alpha, innovating technology, managing risk management, and making markets more efficient.

Description: Geneva Trading was founded in 1999, and it opened its office in Chicago in 2000. The prop firm has a heavy dependence on data science and leverages its proprietary software to enhance its participation in the global markets.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • Dublin

Grace Hall Trading

Strategy: Grace Hall Trading specializes in transactional arbitrage, statistical & volatility arbitrage as well as event-driven trading. The firm is involved in High-Frequency Trading.

Description: Grace Hall Trading was founded in 2008. Since then, it has carved a niche for itself in the U.S. equity options space. However, it operates in other asset classes too. The trading firm specializes in complex algorithmic trading and fundamental volatility arbitrage strategies.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • Charlotte

Group One Trading

Strategy: Group One is a focussed market-maker in U.S. equity options. It leverages efficient risk management and software development. They aim at profits with a winning combination of astute pricing judgment, real-time risk management, and advanced technology.

Description: Group One, founded in 1989, is one of the largest privately held options trading firms in the United States. They conduct a three-phased Analyst Training Program wherein it mentors young traders to place profitable trades. Group One manages portfolios of numerous securities and electronically streams two-sided quotes over several exchanges.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Philadelphia

Hehmeyer Trading & Investments

Strategy: Hehmeyer Trading & Investments is a prop trading firm that focuses on algorithmic trading and adopts a market-making approach in digital currencies.

Description: Rebranded as Hehmeyer, the firm has consolidated its business segments into algorithmic trading and market making in cryptocurrencies. Hehmeyer operates on numerous request-for-quote platforms and has a presence in over-the-counter (OTC) markets through FIX API, REST API, GUI, and other mediums.

Leadership: Chris Hehmeyer, CEO

Location:

  • Chicago

IMC Financial Markets

Strategy: IMC Financial is a market-maker that specializes in algorithmic trading and cutting-edge technology.

Description: Founded in 1989, IMC Trading is a proprietary trading firm that acts as a market maker. It provides liquidity for over 200,00 financial instruments, including equities, bonds, commodities, and currencies listed in over 100 exchanges.

IMC is a technology-driven trading firm and a significant liquidity provider on the NYSE Arca, NASDAQ, CBOE, BATS, CME exchanges. The firm uses highly automated systems and trading strategies to aim at “tighter” spreads between bids and offer lower transaction costs for traders.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • Amsterdam
  • Sydney

Jump Trading

Strategy: Jump Trading is involved in algorithmic and high-frequency trading strategies.

Description: Jump Trading is a renowned, proprietary trading firm that prioritizes algorithmic trading. Jump Trading is a privately funded company and is actively involved in futures, options, cryptocurrency, and global stock markets.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • New York
  • London
  • Singapore
  • Shanghai
  • Amsterdam
  • Bristol
  • Gurugram
  • Hong Kong
  • Paris

Marquette Partners

Strategy: Marquette Partners leverages a multi-faceted trading style that covers a broad asset base. The firm is also actively involved in algorithmic trading on futures and cash instruments.

Description: Marquette Partners is a leading proprietary trading firm that trades various asset classes that include options on fixed income securities, agricultural products, and commodities on the significant exchanges globally.

Leadership:

Location:

  • Chicago

Optiver

Strategy: Optiver acts as a market maker on various exchanges. The firm continues to offer the narrowest bid-ask spread to inject liquidity into the market and bear additional risks.

Description: Optiver is a proprietary trading firm and market maker for various exchange-listed financial instruments such as derivatives, cash equities, exchange-traded funds, bonds, and foreign exchange. This prop firm is privately owned.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • Sydney
  • Amsterdam
  • London
  • Shanghai
  • Taipei
  • Hong Kong

Peak 6 Investments

Strategy: Peak 6 is a pure Prop trading and market-making firm. The firm also offers liquidity and risk management services to the options market.

Description: PEAK6 Investments is a financial services firm that includes market making, risk management, proprietary trading, and hedge fund operations. The company’s subsidiary PEAK6 Capital Management is a significant options market maker and proprietary trading firm., one of the largest options trader in the U.S.

Leadership:

Location:

  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Santa Monica
  • Seattle

Prime International Trading

Strategy: Prime International Trading specializes in global futures, options, and U.S. equities

Description: Prime Trading was founded in 1985 as. a prop trading firm specializing in the trading of Futures and Options in Treasuries, Energies, Grains, and Metals. Prime International is a proprietary trading firm that is globally spread across Europe, Asia, and South America, assuring that its traders have a robust international base for maximizing earnings potential.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • New York

Simplex Investments

Strategy: Simplex Investment is concentrated in technology-oriented proprietary trading.

Description: Simplex Investments create software to capitalize on financial market opportunity. The firm pulls the strategies conceived by its traders into an efficient code. The firm focuses on innovation and learning, for which it leverages capital and cutting-edge technical resources.

Leadership:

Location:

  • Chicago

Topstep

Strategy: Top Step offers a safe training platform for traders to professionally pursue their dream and earn profit in the financial markets.

Description: TopstepTrader is a financial technology firm that allows day traders’ to operate in real-time simulated accounts and assess their performance. Traders who clear the firm’s evaluation get a trading account to operate in the forex market with the firm’s capital.

Leadership:

Locations

  • Chicago

Strategy: TradeLink’s focus is on designing and implementing quantitative models that draw on the firm’s considerable expertise in trading, research, and technology.

Description: TradeLink, founded in 1979, is a global proprietary trading and investment management firm. Since its inception, TradeLink has been a pioneer in algorithmic trading, options market making, and quantitative modeling. The firm’s approach to trading includes advanced technology, market experience, proprietary platforms, strategic risk management, and agile capital deployment.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • Miami
  • London
  • Warsaw

Transmarket Group

Strategy: Transmarket Group utilizes quantitative mathematical modeling and technology to trade in the financial industry as a market maker.

Description: Founded in 1980, TransMarket Group is a global proprietary trading firm. It utilizes disruptive technology to grab opportunities across the world and efficiently manage risk.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Chicago
  • New York
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Mumbai
  • Singapore
  • Sydney

WH Trading

Strategy: W.H. Trading is involved in derivatives trading and market-making

Description: W.H. Trading LLC is a proprietary trading company that offers traditional open-outcry trading even today alongside the electronics trading of futures, options, and equity securities. It is a derivatives trading firm that provides liquidity to the futures and options markets across the world.

Leadership:

Location:

  • Chicago

Wolverine Trading

Strategy: Wolverine is into core Prop trading, market-making, and asset management. It uses Valuation Arbitrage as one of its strategies.

Description: Wolverine Trading is an independent broker-dealer specializing in trading equities, options, and futures for institutional investors. The firm offers its clients an algorithmic trading platform, direct floor access, as well as an agency brokerage desk. Wolverine trades in ETFs, ETF options, cash, bonds.

Leadership:

Location:

  • Chicago

X.R. Trading

Strategy: X.R. Trading is a prop trading firm that is primarily into Market-Making

Description: X.R. Trading is a market-making firm that offers liquidity for various financial instruments and asset classes such as equities, indices, foreign exchange, energy, metals, treasuries, and agricultural products. X.R. Trading operates with nine trading teams which are cross-functional teams, comprise traders, software developers, and quants. These teams utilize technology to solve problems and develop new trading strategies.

Leadership:


Best New York City Prop Trading Firms

Avatar Securities

Strategy: Avatar Securities offers direct market access with intelligent order routing capabilities to exchanges and various dark pools. Avatar Securities also provides the complete infrastructure for discretionary trading as well as gray-box and black-box trading systems.

Description: Avatar Securities is a subsidiary of the Avatar Trading Group, LLC and a broker-dealer prop-only firm registered at the CBOE, the CBSX, and Nasdaq OMX PHLX. The firm specializes in U.S. equities, ETFs, ETNs, and U.S. equity options. Avatar focuses on the funding and platform requirements of experienced traders.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • Chicago

BlueFin Trading

Strategy: BlueFin Trading is involved in market making and trading in exchange-traded derivative products.

Description: Bluefin Trading Capital Management, a prop-trading firm, was formed in 2001 to give a platform for innovative and quantitative modeling. It uses advanced technology to identify lucrative trading opportunities in Equities, ETFs, Options/Futures, Commodities, Fixed Income, and Foreign Exchange.

Leadership:

Location:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • London
  • Hong Kong

First New York

Strategy: First New York trades with its own money and adopts multiple strategies.

Description: First New York Securities (FNYS) is a globally recognized multi-asset trading firm founded in 1986. The firm implements strategies in equities, futures, derivatives, currencies, fixed income, commodities across global markets. Since its inception in 1986, FNYS provides portfolio managers and traders with infrastructure and capital to deploy their strategies.

Leadership:


Flow Traders

Strategy: Flow Trader is a market-maker specialized in Exchange Traded Products (ETPs).

Description: Flow Traders is a global proprietary firm established in 2004 with trading desks across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. The company uses its principal technology platform to quote the bid/ask spread in several ETP listings. So far, Flow Traders have quoted over 7900 ETPs globally. Flow Traders strive to integrate market expertise, cutting-edge technology, risk management to offer competitive pricing.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong

Hold Brothers

Location: New York

Strategy: Hold Brothers focuses on core Proprietary Trading.

Description: Hold Brothers Capital is a leading direct access trading firm that primarily deals with domestic equities trading. It is a broker-dealer prop shop and a member of the FINRA and SIPC. Hold Brothers offers the latest technology to traders and high-speed direct access to the equity markets through its proprietary software and API connectivity.

Leadership:


Hudson River Trading

Strategy: Hudson River Trading is a liquidity provider. The firm offers a scientific approach to trading financial products. Hudson River has a sophisticated computing environment for research and development.

Description: Hudson River Trading (HRT), founded in 2002, is a multi-asset class quantitative trading firm. It is leading innovation in the world of algorithmic trading. Hudson River is more of a high-frequency trading (HFT) firm. The firm has a strong team of quant traders, developers, software engineers, and mathematicians to develop and improve its proprietary trading strategies.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • London
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Austin
  • Dublin

Integra Capital

Strategy: Integra Capital offers a blend of prop trading and retail trading. The firm also supports automated trading strategies. Integra supports algorithmic and HFT strategies for trading.

Description: Integra Capital is a division of the T3 Trading Group. The firm offers the option of Prop trading as well as retail trading. Integra offers its traders professional trading platforms, capital, mentorship, and support. The firm also supports remote traders from all over the country. Integra offers its prop traders with firm capital leverage of at least 30x their deposit for day trading and 6x their deposit for swing trading.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York

Jane Street

Strategy: Jane Street Trading is predominantly into market-making and providing liquidity.

Description: Jane Street is a global proprietary trading firm that has over 1,200 employees. The company is one of the largest market-makers globally for the past two decades. Jane Street trades securities worth more than $17 trillion in 2020. The assets include ETFs, Equities, Futures, Commodities, Options, Bonds, Currencies.

Jane Street is a quantitative trading firm with a particular focus on technology. Jane Street trades an average of $21 billion in global equities, bonds, and ETFs daily.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • London
  • Tokyo

Old Mission Capital

Strategy: Proprietary Trading firm specializing in market-making for hard-to-trade ETFs.

Description: Old Mission Capital is a global quantitative market-making platform launched in 2008. The company’s market-making platform empowers it to work with the most prominent institutions and across a wide range of securities, incredibly illiquid ETFs. However, it also trades equities, mutual funds, and securities and offers advisory services.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • London

Schonfeld Group

Strategy: Primarily on short to intermediate-term and fully automated global trading strategies. The firm also aims for diversity in statistical and index arbitrage portfolios. Tactical trading is a critical part of its strategies to create orthogonal and uncorrelated returns.

Description: Schonfeld Strategic Advisors is a multi-manager trading platform with exposure across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Schonfeld employs a wide set of long volatility investment models for broadening the portfolio and improving returns. The firm’s investment Models include equity capital markets, event-driven, index rebalancing, and short-term trading.

Leadership:


Seven Points Capital

Strategy: Seven Points Capital is involved in Proprietary trading and market-making.

Description: Seven Points Capital is a Broker-Dealer prop firm that applies multiple strategies. The firm does not charge any education fees from the trader. They also do not bring in any capital. Seven Points Capital is based in New York City with additional offices in California, Florida, New Jersey, and Toronto. Seven Points Capital offers a comprehensive suite of trading applications,

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • San Diego
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Toronto

SMB Capital

Strategy: SMB Capital focuses on traditional discretionary trading.

Description: SMB Capital is a proprietary trading desk founded in 2005, operating with diverse trading styles. The firm provides capital, training, and mentoring for aspiring traders. The firm is primarily focused on equities, options, and futures.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York

T3 Trading Group

Strategy: T3 Trading Group, LLC’s proprietary traders focus mainly on technical analysis to develop their trading strategies. The firm leverages low latency technology and order routing alongside a competitive cost structure. For Hedging Strategies and Speculation, T3 trading allows Multiple Legs and Spread Trading.

Description: Launched in 2010, T3 Trading is a prop trading firm that utilizes multiple time-frames and applies swing and intraday trading styles to generate maximum returns based on market cycles. The firm participates in algorithmic trading and has its presence across numerous asset classes like equities, options, and futures. At present, T3 Trading Group has a base of over 400 proprietary traders.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • Millburn
  • Matawan

Tower Research Capital

Strategy: Tower Research Capital develops technology and deploys its diverse automated and quantitative methods across a broad range of asset classes globally.

Description: Tower Research Capital, founded in 1998, is a financial services firm located in New York. The firm primarily deals in quantitative trading and investment strategies.

Tower’s independent trading team structure allows for innovation and healthy internal competition while still collaborating across Tower globally to strengthen our firm and evolve along with the marketplace. Tower does this while treating one another with respect, one of our underlying Tower core values.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Charleston
  • Montreal
  • London
  • Amsterdam
  • Gurgaon
  • Gift City
  • Gurgaon
  • Hong Kong
  • Shanghai

Trillium Trading

Strategy: Trillium Trading participates in directional or core proprietary trading

Description: Trillium is a premier trading and technology firm, established in 2003. Besides proprietary trading, the diversified financial firm also has its technology development group, Trillium Labs, which has developed Surveyor, a post-trade surveillance tool for identifying and eliminating market manipulation. Trillium has over 100 experienced traders employed in its New York, Chicago, and Miami offices.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Maimi

Virtu Financial

Strategy: Virtu Financial is primarily involved in market-making and infusing liquidity

Description: Virtu is a global name in prop trading. The firm leverages advanced technology to deliver liquidity to the international markets and innovative and transparent trading solutions.

Besides trade execution, Virtu provides an entire range of products such as equities, commodities, currencies, options, fixed income, and other securities on over 200 exchanges and dark pools, liquidity sourcing, analytics, multi-dealer platforms, and dual-sided quotations.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • U.S.: New York, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Short Hills
  • APAC: Hong Kong, Singapore, Sidney
  • CA: Toronto
  • EMEA: Dublin, London, Madrid, Paris

Other Locations

Bright Trading

Strategy: Bright Trading allows its traders to leverage various strategies like Pairs, Baskets, Hedged Swing Trading, and Macro

Description: Bright Trading is a small prop trading firm. It is a broker-dealer member of the NYSE Chicago. Since 1992, the firm provides capital, training, and professional tools like REDIplus or Real Tick to its traders to execute trades. Traders can execute manually, use Algorithms, run via FIX, or bring their methods and strategies to utilize various APIs.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Las Vegas

Kershner Trading Group

Strategy: Kershner Trading Group is primarily involved in Prop Trading with a Bionic Edge

Description: Kershner Trading Group is a prop firm that offers capital, trading platforms, and the necessary infrastructure to manual and algorithmic traders. Gr8trade, the firm’s proprietary trade implementation and analysis platform, empower traders to automate their trading procedures and executing them.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • Austin
  • New York

Susquehanna International Group

Strategy: Susquehanna is primarily a market maker. The firm is a leading liquidity provider and uses sophisticated electronic trading techniques globally.

Description: Susquehanna International Group is a global quantitative trading firm specializing in proprietary trading of equities, fixed income, commodity, energy, index, and derivative products.

The firm also has a presence in the private equity and venture capital customer trading space. Susquehanna is one of the best-known names for equity options pricing and trading.

Leadership:

Locations:

  • U.S.: Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Samford, San Francisco, Boca Raton
  • EMEA: Dublin, London
  • APAC: Sidney, Bejing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo

The Bottom Line

A reputed and credible prop firm is a significant factor in the trader’s success or failure. With proper mentorship, it can also help a trader achieve profitability even in adverse market conditions and avoid black swan events that can wipe out a trader’s entire portfolio.

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Leo Smigel

Based in Pittsburgh, Analyzing Alpha is a blog by Leo Smigel exploring what works in the markets.