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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

DAX Trading Hours Soon to be Extended

9 July 2019

The CFD of the DAX (GDAXI) start trading with an extended schedule as of Monday July 22nd, 2019.

The CFD of the DAX (GDAXI) will soon – probably as of Monday July 22nd – start trading with an extended schedule.

The current schedule is as follows:

  • 07:00 – 21:00 (London) Mon-Thu
  • 07:00 – 20:55 (London) Fri

The extended schedule will be as follows:

  • 01:30 – 21:00 (London) Mon-Thu
  • 01:30 – 20:55 (London) Fri

We’ll update this post with the final implementation date of the extended schedule as soon as possible.

Update on July 18th: the DAX will start trading according to the new schedule on Monday July 22nd.

Note that during the night, GDAXI usually has a wider spread and a lower liquidity than during the day.

Please get in touch at info@darwinex.com for any questions you may have.

apalancamiento esma

The FCA Makes ESMA’s CFD Restrictions Permanent

4 July 2019

The new measure doesn’t affect us more than the ESMA intervention already did. And it affected us in a positive way, contributing to the improvement of our clients’ performance.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) made the European Authority’s (ESMA) CFD restrictions permanent this week.

Some reactions to this we saw in user forums implied this was a “ban” of Contracts for Differentes (CFDs). Some even said it was “the end of Darwinex”.

We’d like to clarify that the FCA’s measure makes the restrictions we already applied last year permanent. But nothing else changes. It’s only that this time it’s the national regulator that said this while last year it was the ESMA.

The new measure doesn’t affect us more than the ESMA intervention already did. And it affected us in a positive way, contributing to the improvement of our clients’ performance.

Trading Schedule for the US Independence Day on 3rd and 4th July 2019

27 June 2019

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours (in red) for the upcoming US Independence Day on 3 & 4 July 2019. All times are in UK (BST) time.

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours (in red) for the upcoming US Independence Day on 3 & 4 July 2019. All times are in UK (BST) time.

 

FX Wednesday 3rd July Thursday 4th July
All FX Instruments 22:05 Tue – 22:00 Wed 22:05 Wed – 22:00 Thu
DARWINs 22:05 Tue – 21:59 Wed 22:05 Tue – 21:59 Wed
Commodities
Gold 23:01 Tue – 21:59 Wed *23:01 Wed – 18:00 Thu 
Silver 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed *23:00 Wed – 18:00 Thu 
Platinum 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed *23:00 Wed – 18:00 Thu 
Palladium 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed *23:00 Wed – 18:00 Thu 
US Crude 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed *23:00 Wed – 17:45 Thu 
US Natural Gas 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed *23:00 Wed – 17:45 Thu 
Indices
AUS200 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu
STOXX50E 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu
FCHI40 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu
GDAXI 07:00 – 21:00 07:00 – 21:00
J225 *23:00 Tue – 18:15 Wed *23:00 Wed – 18:00 Thu 
SPA35 07:00 – 19:00 07:00 – 19:00
UK100 23:00 Tue – 22:00 Wed 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu
SPX500 *23:00 Tue – 18:15 Wed *23:00 Wed – 18:00 Thu
NDX *23:00 Tue – 18:15 Wed *23:00 Wed – 18:00 Thu 
WS30 *23:00 Tue – 18:15 Wed *23:00 Wed – 18:00 Thu
US stocks 14:31 – 20:59 CLOSED
 
Crypto
All Crypto Instruments 22:05 Tue – 22:00 Wed 22:05 Wed – 22:00 Thu

 

 

The DARWIN Exchange will remain open even if the underlying assets’ market is closed. Should you want to know the standard procedure when you buy/sell a DARWIN whose underlying asset market is closed, we recommend you to read the following Help Center article: What happens if you want to buy/sell a DARWIN which has underlying trades open with different opening/closing times?

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

Australia Public Holiday on 10th June 2019

5 June 2019

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming Bank Holiday in Australia on 10th June 2019 (all times are in UK time).

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming bank holiday in Australia on 10th June 2019. All times are in UK (BST) time.

Indices  Monday 10th June 2019
AUS200 08:10 – 22:00

 

The rest of the assets will trade according to their usual trading time.

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

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Upcoming holiday in New Zealand resulting in the possibility of wider spreads and thinner liquidity

30 May 2019

Please be aware that there is a bank holiday in New Zealand on Monday June 3rd. Therefore, during this time, spreads may be wider and liquidity may be thinner for all NZD-related assets. For any questions, we’re one email away, at info@darwinex.com.

Please be aware that there is a bank holiday in New Zealand on Monday June 3rd.

Therefore, during this time, spreads may be wider and liquidity may be thinner for all NZD-related assets.

For any questions, we’re one email away, at info@darwinex.com.

US Memorial Day & UK Spring Bank Holiday on 27th May 2019

14 May 2019

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming US Memorial Day & UK Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 27th May 2019. All times are in UK (BST) time. Important: if you open / close an investment in a DARWIN that has an open trade in an asset with the market closed (see amended trading […]

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming US Memorial Day & UK Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 27th May 2019. All times are in UK (BST) time.

Important: if you open / close an investment in a DARWIN that has an open trade in an asset with the market closed (see amended trading hours in red below), the transaction will not be carried out immediately. The operation will show up in your investor portfolio once it has been executed by our system when the index/commodity resumes trading on Monday night.

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

Commodities   Monday 27th May 2019
Gold 23:01 Sun – 18:00 Mon
Silver 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon
Platinum 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon
Palladium 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon
US Crude 23:00 Sun – 17:45 Mon
US Natural Gas 23:00 Sun – 17:45 Mon
Indices
UK100 CLOSED
J225 23:00 Sun – 18:15 Mon
SPX500 23:00 Sun – 18:15 Mon
NDX 23:00 Sun – 18:15 Mon
WS30 23:00 Sun – 18:15 Mon
US Stocks
All US stocks CLOSED

The rest of the assets will trade according to their usual trading time.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 66 % of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.