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Darwinia ranking – unfair?

4 February 2016

This video explains our monthly Darwinia trading challenge: why we run it, how it works, and what to expect if you win the allocation. We hope you enjoy it!

We receive regular feedback pointing out that the outcomes of the Darwinia contest may not always foster our goal of democratising the markets.

For example, in response to last week’s post, Steven, mentioned:

“have been looking at the Darwins and the ranking. I spotted some traders that traded one of his/her strategies to 98% drawdown, however their respective D-score/ranking were not penalised. I wish one day the ranking algorithm will take into account for fairer outcome. After all I am sure your company do not encourage reckless risk management.
Cheers Steven”

Clearly, we share Steven’s concern – who likes reckless risk management – but as you’ll see, when you decide to do something one way, you have to stick with your decision, even if parts of it hurt.

This post will touch upon several aspects, including the technical details on the ranking, trader incentives, and how to solve this going forward. We sincerely look for input on this one – perhaps with your feedback we’ll find a better way!

Overrule the algorithms?

Darwinia is ranked weighting:

  1. Grades for the DARWIN based on the strategy,
  2. The Level as determined by those grades
  3. DARWIN performance for the natural month and
  4. A measure of activity (to make sure that high level DARWINs win without trading activity don’t contend whilst on holidays).

We’ve covered the mechanics of Darwinia levels elsewhere – the relevant point here is the fact that the DARWIN’s underlying strategy does NOT enter the equation. Which implicitly means that neither do its Drawdown, VaR level, etc.

Arguably relevant criteria like “he’s trading the strategy with very high VaR”, or “the trader traded his strategy to 98% drawdown” aren’t even evaluated. On account of this “shortcoming”, sometimes strategies with “reckless risk management” make the end of month cut for the 20 strategies that are awarded Darwinia capital for 6 months.

Shouldn’t we overrule the algos, draw the joker wildcard and introduce rules so that DARWINs with underlying strategy VaRs higher than X or Y  be disqualified from the contest etc. ?

Tempting! For starters, it may well save us some investing losses. But would that really help the underlying goal, in the long run?

We’ve thought this through, and think there’s a case for laissez faire (at least for now). If it proves too costly we may have to reverse course, but it’s important to share the pros of laissez faire.

We didn't invent this...

We didn’t invent this…

Arguments for laissez-faire

The first is transparency. Not tinkering with the rules.

If we’re the DARWIN exchange listing DARWINs – which are genuinely different from their underlying strategy – and control risk so that DARWINs run on 20% VaR, why introduce the underlying strategy into the investor equation? Doesn’t this send conflicting messages? The last thing we want is anyone accusing us of a non-transparent process.

The second is not judging people’s incentives. There’s enough gambling going on in the markets, and we’re clearly not here to encourage more. Then again, having spoken to hundreds of traders in the last few years, we realised there’s a (possibly small) subset of “rational gamblers”. Their argument is: I only manage e.g. 1000 USD, and I won’t be able to manage a meaningful amount for the foreseeable future. So I trade several promising strategies with deliberately outrageous risk. It’s my personal way to build a lottery ticket cheaper than anything offered in the gambling market.

Not everyone will agree, but provided the underlying strategies work, there’s logic to it. Indeed (some) DARWINs based on high risk strategies get good grades for long-ish periods of time –  compare DARWIN1, 2 and 3 with their underlying strategies. This begs two options. Option A is: the rating algorithms work, and the DARWIN based on the reckless gamble, with “investment grade” VaR, are investable for a while – in which case who are we to hide them from investors? Option B is: the rating algorithms need improvement, and we better get our act together to improve.

We welcome both. Simply “hiding” flaws in the algorithms or high risk in the closet would hurt the transparency of traders’ evolution, and paradoxically reduce everyone’s credibility.

The third is trust in market forces. Underlying strategies will always be visible to investors. Once hundreds of millions in Assets under Management (AuM) back DARWINs, presumably few investors will choose high risk traders, reckless risk however mitigated by the DARWIN, will put them off. Presumably even risk loving DARWIN providers will lower their VaR then… but we’re not there yet – our 0.5 MM capital allocation / month isn’t enough of an incentive for them to lower risk.

And last, but not least, there’s evolution. As AuM grow, Darwinex will both groom better traders in house (focussing on improving pays in the long run) and attract better traders who don’t know / can’t currently be bothered to join Darwinex. Nothing better to crowd out (rational or irrational) punters making the Darwinia cut every month, than higher density of good traders providing investable DARWINs.

When that happens, nothing would please us more than knowing that evolution worked its way through the ranking, without tinkering. Until then, the reality is that 90% of independent traders lose their shirts owing to nothing more than excessive risk taking. The only way to fix a problem is to acknowledge it – and that’s where we are right now.

Your thoughts?

Clearly, we couldn’t discuss this with users in length… so what’s your thought? Do you agree? Any argument we’re missing?

 

Last News

General Election in Japan (22 October 2017)

18 October 2017

Please note that the Japan General Election is coming up this Sunday (22 October 2017). The outcome of the election could result in market gapping in JPY pairs when market opens. Please make sure you are comfortable with the open position exposure on your Darwinex account and that you have sufficient margin cover going into the weekend […]

Please note that the Japan General Election is coming up this Sunday (22 October 2017).

The outcome of the election could result in market gapping in JPY pairs when market opens.

Please make sure you are comfortable with the open position exposure on your Darwinex account and that you have sufficient margin cover going into the weekend prior to market close at 22:00 (UK time) on Friday (20 October 2017).

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be glad to assist you!

 

End of Daylight Saving Time in Europe (29 October 2017)

Please note that Daylight Saving Time ends in Europe on Sunday 29 October 2017 but our MT4 server time is NOT changing until Sunday 5 November 2017 (when Daylight Saving Time ends in the US). This means that there will be 1 week (29 October through 3 November 2017) where markets will open 1 hour earlier in GMT time […]

Please note that Daylight Saving Time ends in Europe on Sunday 29 October 2017 but our MT4 server time is NOT changing until Sunday 5 November 2017 (when Daylight Saving Time ends in the US).

This means that there will be 1 week (29 October through 3 November 2017) where markets will open 1 hour earlier in GMT time (i.e. FX market will open at 21:01 GMT instead of 22:01 GMT; commodities will open at 22:01 GMT, etc.).

Trading hours will return to normal from Sunday 5th November 2017, allowing for the daily candle to close at the end of trading in New York each day which is widely considered the end of the trading day.

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be glad to assist you with any question you may have!

 

And the DarwinIA winners are…

4 October 2017

The September edition of our DarwinIA trading challenge came to its end. Below you can find the 48 winners of our € 4,000,000 notional allocation for a 6 month period. Puesto DARWIN September´s notional allocation 1º $FTT € 300,000.00 2º $KLV € 250,000.00 3º $XTT € 210,000.00 4º $FTAL € 170,000.00 5º $CEM € 150,000.00 […]

The September edition of our DarwinIA trading challenge came to its end. Below you can find the 48 winners of our € 4,000,000 notional allocation for a 6 month period.

Puesto DARWIN September´s notional allocation
$FTT € 300,000.00
$KLV € 250,000.00
$XTT € 210,000.00
$FTAL € 170,000.00
$CEM € 150,000.00
$VTJ € 140,000.00
$VQB € 130,000.00
$CLA € 120,000.00
$WPB € 110,000.00
10º $QJW € 110,000.00
11º $FGC € 110,000.00
12º $PUL € 100,000.00
13º $GTD € 100,000.00
14º $RZV € 100,000.00
15º $PGH € 90,000.00
16º $YBG € 90,000.00
17º $FEG € 90,000.00
18º $OOA € 80,000.00
19º $JZH € 80,000.00
20º $EWL € 80,000.00
21º $MBC € 70,000.00
22º $PPP € 70,000.00
23º $LZL € 70,000.00
24º $QTB € 70,000.00
25º $VNE € 60,000.00
26º $VLD € 60,000.00
27º $NIC € 60,000.00
28º $KKH € 60,000.00
29º $XMZ € 60,000.00
30º $VGC € 60,000.00
31º $XIS € 50,000.00
32º $XYP € 50,000.00
33º $RQH € 50,000.00
34º $AXF € 50,000.00
35º $YZF € 50,000.00
36º $ZMA € 50,000.00
37º $JJT € 50,000.00
38º $BAD € 40,000.00
39º $SPI € 40,000.00
40º $JKC € 40,000.00
41º $IOG € 40,000.00
42º $HIB € 40,000.00
43º $ICX € 40,000.00
44º $NLK € 40,000.00
45º $LSC € 30,000.00
46º $ELD € 30,000.00
47º $VVC € 30,000.00
48º $AWE € 30,000.00

Unofficial referendum on Catalonian independence (1 October 2017)

29 September 2017

The unofficial referendum on Catalonian independence is due on 1 October 2017 and some analysts are forecasting losses for the EUR currency as nerves over this potentially disruptive event grow. There is high uncertainty around the outcome of the unofficial referendum, which may result in market gapping in EUR pairs when market opens on Sunday. Please […]

The unofficial referendum on Catalonian independence is due on 1 October 2017 and some analysts are forecasting losses for the EUR currency as nerves over this potentially disruptive event grow.

There is high uncertainty around the outcome of the unofficial referendum, which may result in market gapping in EUR pairs when market opens on Sunday.

Please make sure you are comfortable with the open position exposure on your Darwinex account and that you have sufficient margin cover going into the weekend prior to market close at 22:00 (UK time) on Friday (29 September 2017).

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be glad to assist you!

Darwinex Amended Trading Hours for German Public Holiday (3 October 2017)

28 September 2017

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming Bank Holiday in Germany on 3 October 2017 (all times are in UK time).  Instrument Trading Hours  FX 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue   DARWINS 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue  COMMODITIES   Gold 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue Silver 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue Platinum 23:00 Mon – 22:00 […]

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming Bank Holiday in Germany on 3 October 2017 (all times are in UK time).

 Instrument Trading Hours
 FX 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue
  DARWINS 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 COMMODITIES  
Gold 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Silver 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Platinum 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Palladium 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
US Crude 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Natural Gas 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 INDICES  
Australia 200  23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 Europe 50 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
France 40 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Germany 30* Closed
Spain 35 08:00 – 19:00
Japan 225 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
UK 100  23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 US SPX 500 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 US Tech 100 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Wall Street 30 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
*Amended Darwinex trading hours.

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be happy to assist you!

General Election in New Zealand (23 September 2017)

21 September 2017

Please note that the New Zealand General Election is coming up this Saturday (23 September 2017). Voting closes at 8 am (UK time) and preliminary results begin to roll in in real-time immediately afterwards. The Electoral Commission’s target is to have 50% of polling station results available by 11 am (UK time) on election night and […]

Please note that the New Zealand General Election is coming up this Saturday (23 September 2017). Voting closes at 8 am (UK time) and preliminary results begin to roll in in real-time immediately afterwards. The Electoral Commission’s target is to have 50% of polling station results available by 11 am (UK time) on election night and 100% of results available by 12.30pm (UK time).

There is high uncertainty around the outcome of the election, which may result in market gapping in NZD pairs when market opens.

Please make sure you are comfortable with the open position exposure on your Darwinex account and that you have sufficient margin cover going into the weekend prior to market close at 22:00 (UK time) on Friday (22 September 2017).

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be glad to assist you!