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Inside Darwinex – Performance calculation, explained

24 October 2013

Understanding your Performance

Upon joining, many new movement members reach out stating: “hey guys, my performance statistics are different from Service Alfa (insert here your favourite alternative site to Darwinex) – they’re wrong!”

Whilst occasionally stuff DOES go wrong, more often than not differences owe to the fact that returns at Darwinex are calculated differently from most existing service providers.

Other services calculate performance on changes to account balance, which accounts for realised P&L (closed trades), but ignores unrealised P&L until open trades are closed.

Darwinex performance is measured on changes to liquidation value, which accounts for realised P&L (closed trades) as well as unrealised P&L (i.e. open trades).

This is the most common reason why returns “differ”. The rest of this post explains why we do things this way, and what implications this has.

Other services performance calculation – changes in account balance

Most services track changes to balance, i.e. accounting for

  • Starting account balance
  • Plus minus realised P&L
  • Plus minus cash flows
    • Cash paid in / deducted by your broker (swaps, commissions, etc.)
    • Monies deposited in / withdrawn by yourself

Performance over a given reference period is then driven by the % change in the resulting account balance.

Your Darwinex Performance – changes in mark to market

At Darwinex, all strategies’ Trading Journal reflect daily liquidation values, considering:

  • Starting account balance
  • Plus minus realised P&L: i.e. monies made or lost on closed positions
  • Plus minus cash flows as per above
  • Unrealised P&L: i.e. what-if P&L when closing ALL open positions at the end of every day

I.e. at the end of every day, regardless of whether trades are open or closed, we compute the hypothetical P&L for ALL open positions assuming that they were closed at the then going market price. The resulting account “balance” is called liquidation value for that particular day.

Your performance is calculated on changes to this liquidation value (purists would call this Mark-to-Market value) of equity. Which means, on any day where open positions are held overnight, the inputs into your performance calculation are different from the inputs at Service Alfa. Unsurprisingly, the output is also different!

Unrealised P&L – why do we care about it?

Darwinia rates strategies for DARWIN investor appeal (hence Darwinia): our standpoint is that of an investor replicating, with his own monies, all trading decisions in a strategy.

This makes us care about unrealised P&L as much as we care about account balance: let’s work through an example to illustrate why.

Market movements matter

Trader Ace with USD 10,000 balance opens a 5 lot long EUR/USD trade. For the next 3 days, this will be his only open trade.

This is what happens to the EUR/USD over the timeframe.

  • Trade open at 1.30135 on day 0
  • End of Day 0: EUR/USD is at 1.30115. Ace keeps the trade overnight
  • End of Day 1: EUR/USD is at 1.29250. Ace keeps the trade overnight
  • End of Day 2: EUR/USD is at 1.28815. Ace keeps the trade overnight
  • Day 3: trade is closed at 1.30250

Investor A replicates Ace’s trades with his own monies 1:1, i.e. using the same leverage as Ace. A uses Darwinex and service Alfa to monitor his investment.

This is the performance calculation investor A gets at Darwinex and Service Alfa [1]:

Snapshot EUR/USD TradeSlide Service Alfa
Liq. value  Daily Perf. Balance Daily Perf.
Trade open 1.30135 10,000.00$ N/A 10,000.00$ N/A
End of day 0 1.30115 9,900.00$ -1% 10,000.00$ Flat
End of day 1 1.29250 5,575.00$ -43,69% 10,000.00$ Flat
End of day 2 1.28815 3,400.00$ -39.01% 10,000.00$ Flat
Trade close 1.30250 10,575.00$ 211.03%(5.75% compounded over 3 days) 10,575.00$ 5.75%

Let’s get this straight: both methodologies are “correct”.

BUT: Darwinex performance contains more information than Service Alfa’s calculation – the unrealised P&L that drives changes to liquidation value.

This has implications that matter.

Implication 1: Performance “masquerades”

Investors are always keen for brilliant performance. As always in life, there’s two ways about it: the proper way, and a short cut.

The safe one is to develop trading skills, manage risk with discipline, and work 2,000 hours a year to develop and maintain a unique strategy that delivers risk-adjusted returns. But hey, we know that’s hard work …

So why not take the short cut? If performance equals realised P&L and unrealised P&L doesn’t matter, why not “short cut” mind-boggling balance growth as follows?

  • Trade winning? Close it and credit realized P&L
  • Trade losing? Keep “corpses” in the “unrealised P&L” closet
  • Repeat

Of course, too many losing trades will trigger a margin-call (the worse the strategy, the sooner). Meanwhile, high return, low risk growth in balance will have lured plenty of profitable investors using service Alfa…

Implication 2: Risk management

A more fundamental implication is risk measurement. Measuring risk on volatility in balance leads A to these conclusions:

  • Volatility: low – A’s money “only” moves from 100% to 105.75%
  • Drawdown: A “experienced” no drawdown in this trade
  • Rally: A “experienced” a rally of 5.75% of his money on this trade

I.e. A will completely ignore that his monies moved around 40% over the 2 days of the trade, and that at the end of day 2 he was 6,600 USD worse-off.

Of course, Ace could argue that the trade worked out just grand, with a profit of 5.75%. But what if A was leaving for a Himalaya trekking trip and asked Ace to close any open positions at the close of day 2? Boy that would have been ugly!

Summary: why?

Calculating net liquidation values requires us to source & maintain the mark-to-market price database for all the assets you ever traded, and that’s not a small & cheap database to populate, host and maintain.

Further, the way performance is calculated on the BASIC and the DARWINIA statistics is slightly different, as Darwinia is a lot more analytically involved. You will occasionally see a few decimal differences between one and the other, as they are updated with different precision and time frames… but they’re not wrong.

But then again, that’s the only way to create D-Leverage, no DarwinIA, no DARWINs, etc. If it requires us doing things differently from service Alfa – so be it!

 


[1] For simplicity, we’ve ignored swaps & any other overnight charges.

Last News

DARWIN conditional orders in live environment

14 November 2017

We have the pleasure to announce that we are finally rolling out DARWIN conditional orders in the live environment. Demand was so strong, this just couldn’t wait any longer! Conditional orders for live accounts The DARWIN Exchange now supports conditional orders in the live environment. Investors may now enter conditional orders so that when a […]

We have the pleasure to announce that we are finally rolling out DARWIN conditional orders in the live environment. Demand was so strong, this just couldn’t wait any longer!

Conditional orders for live accounts

The DARWIN Exchange now supports conditional orders in the live environment.

Investors may now enter conditional orders so that when a DARWIN quote:

  • Falls to a certain level, they buy it (Buy limit)
  • Rises to certain level, they buy it (Buy stop)
  • Falls to a certain level, they sell it (Stop Loss)
  • Rises to a certain level, they sell it (Take Profit)

NB: we’ve disabled Buy stops for now – we will activate them once everyone is comfortable with the other 3 limit order types.

 

In order to launch conditional orders in the live environment, we’ve also had to launch another much demanded feature – DARWIN candle charts.

Introducing DARWIN candle charts

We’re introducing candle charts, not for the purpose of charting, but to be as transparent as possible on whether DARWIN quotes hit a given level.

Candles represent a given time interval and have:

  • Opening quote: the first quote at the start of the interval represented by the candle
  • Closing quote: the last quote during the interval represented by the candle
  • High: highest quote in the interval
  • Low: lowest quote in the interval

Note that due to differences in the frequency of tick price movements and duration of candle periods, the close quote for a candle need not necessarily match the open quote for the succeeding candle.

Price granularity

Price granularity is a trade-off between accuracy/transparency and computational efficiency. Pick too little, and compromise transparency. Pick too much, and waste resources.

This is why we’ve opted for a 3-Tier approach:

  • Second level granularity: on quotes in the DARWIN platform since 15 August 2017
  • Minute granularity:  for the period between IPO/validation of the Darwin in question and the 15 August 2017
  • Hourly granularity: for the period pre Darwin IPO/validation, when there were no investors in the DARWIN. Transparency requirements are lowest – these are “fictitious” quotes that no investor experienced!
  • Exception on DARWIN re-sets: on occasions, owing to some execution issue on a DARWIN’s underlying strategy, DARWIN equity curves must be “simulated” back to what they would have been barring the execution issues. For the period where the curve has had to be re-created, or needs to be recreated in the future, granularity will be on an hourly basis (just like pre-IPO), and not on a minute/second basis as you would otherwise expect.

You might ask yourself, “Why only second level granularity from 15th August 2017?”. Well, it’s simple really. We simply didn’t think that we would need this level of detail.

Separately, we are aware that the treatment of exceptions is sub-optimal. Be assured however that there’s ongoing work both to minimise the probability of execution disruptions and to resolve the mismatch between the actual and “optimal” DARWIN equity curve. Unfortunately this is not a trivial issue, so it will take time to fix.

Drawdown calculation

We will continue to calculate Drawdowns off the “Return Chart”. Note that this still doesn’t reflect the “Min” Candle – we’re working  on fixing this. Meanwhile, we preferred to release the candles over waiting for ironing out all related issues.

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to your feedback on how to improve the platform!

And the DarwinIA winners are…

1 November 2017

The October 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. Place DARWIN Notional allocation 1st TKT € 300,000.00 2nd UYZ € 250,000.00 3rd ZXW € 210,000.00 4th DLF € 170,000.00 5th FEG € 150,000.00 6th […]

The October 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.

Place DARWIN Notional allocation
1st TKT € 300,000.00
2nd UYZ € 250,000.00
3rd ZXW € 210,000.00
4th DLF € 170,000.00
5th FEG € 150,000.00
6th VQB € 140,000.00
7th MOW € 130,000.00
8th HTS € 120,000.00
9th VTJ € 110,000.00
10th STP € 110,000.00
11th JCZ € 110,000.00
12th CLA € 100,000.00
13th LVS € 100,000.00
14th NWU € 100,000.00
15th PUL € 90,000.00
16th LDR € 90,000.00
17th PHD € 90,000.00
18th DFL € 80,000.00
19th AGD € 80,000.00
20th CNU € 80,000.00
21st KGL € 70,000.00
22nd PEW € 70,000.00
23rd KYQ € 70,000.00
24th AXF € 70,000.00
25th FGC € 60,000.00
26th QTN € 60,000.00
27th VNE € 60,000.00
28th ECC € 60,000.00
29th FYW € 60,000.00
30th PUD € 60,000.00
31st ERQ € 50,000.00
32nd DZL € 50,000.00
33rd PMZ € 50,000.00
34th BNX € 50,000.00
35th WBH € 50,000.00
36th LLZ € 50,000.00
37th FTT € 50,000.00
38th KWC € 40,000.00
39th OOG € 40,000.00
40th NGS € 40,000.00
41st SRK € 40,000.00
42nd XYP € 40,000.00
43rd NAU € 40,000.00
44th VHI € 40,000.00
45th ONE € 30,000.00
46th FER € 30,000.00
47th BYC € 30,000.00
48th PUZ € 30,000.00

Darwinex Amended Trading Hours due to German Public Holiday (31 October 2017)

27 October 2017

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming Bank Holiday in Germany on 31 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 31 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 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 some markets will open 1 hour earlier in GMT […]

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 some 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.).

 Instrument Trading Hours
 FX  21:05 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 21:01 daily) 
  DARWINS 21:05 Sun – 21:00 Fri (except 21:00 – 21:01 daily)
 COMMODITIES  
Gold 22:01 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 20:59 – 22:01 daily)
Silver 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
Platinum 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
Palladium 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
US Crude 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
Natural Gas 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
 INDICES  
Australia 200 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
 Europe 50 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
France 40 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
Germany 30 07:00 – 21:00 (Mon – Fri)
Spain 35 07:00 – 19:00 (Mon – Fri)
Japan 225 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
UK 100 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
 US SPX 500 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
 US Tech 100 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
Wall Street 30 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)


Trading hours will return to normal on 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