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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?

 

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UK Parliament Vote on EU Withdrawal Bill (11 December 2018)

9 December 2018

We would like to remind you that the UK Parliament will vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill on 11th December 2018. There is a high degree of uncertainty as to the outcome of the vote and all GBP currency crosses are likely to experience significant volatility with increased risk of market gaps. It is important that you […]

We would like to remind you that the UK Parliament will vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill on 11th December 2018.

There is a high degree of uncertainty as to the outcome of the vote and all GBP currency crosses are likely to experience significant volatility with increased risk of market gaps.

It is important that you have sufficient margin coverage and are comfortable with the exposure on your account as our margin requirements may change going into the vote or depending on the outcome of the vote.

Please feel free to contact us at info@darwinex.com should you need assistance in this regard.

Amended Trading Hours US National Day of Mourning on December 5th 2018

4 December 2018

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming US National Day of Mourning on December 5th 2018. All times are in UK (GMT+0) time.    Instrument December 5th 2018  INDICES    US SPX 500 23:00 Tue – 14:45 Wed  US Tech 100 23:00 Tue – 14:45 Wed Wall Street 30 23:00 Tue – 14:45 Wed […]

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming US National Day of Mourning on December 5th 2018. All times are in UK (GMT+0) time.


 

 Instrument December 5th 2018
 INDICES  
 US SPX 500 23:00 Tue – 14:45 Wed
 US Tech 100 23:00 Tue – 14:45 Wed
Wall Street 30 23:00 Tue – 14:45 Wed
 STOCKS  
US Stocks CLOSED

 


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!

Amended Trading Hours for the 2018 US Thanksgiving Holidays (Nov. 22nd and 23rd)

20 November 2018

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming US Thanksgiving holiday period on 22nd and 23rd of November 2018. All times are in UK (GMT+0) time.    Instrument November 22nd 2018 November 23rd 2018  COMMODITIES     Gold 23:01 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:01 Thu – 18:40 Fri Silver 23:00 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:00 Thu – […]

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming US Thanksgiving holiday period on 22nd and 23rd of November 2018. All times are in UK (GMT+0) time.

 


 Instrument November 22nd 2018 November 23rd 2018
 COMMODITIES    
Gold 23:01 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:01 Thu – 18:40 Fri
Silver 23:00 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:00 Thu – 18:40 Fri
Platinum 23:00 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:00 Thu – 18:40 Fri
Palladium 23:00 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:00 Thu – 18:40 Fri
US Crude 23:00 Wed – 17:44 Thu 23:00 Thu – 17:25 Fri
Natural Gas 23:00 Wed – 17:44 Thu 23:00 Thu – 17:25 Fri
 INDICES    
Japan 225 23:00 Wed – 17:59 Thu  23:00 Thu – 18:10 Fri 
 US SPX 500 23:00 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:00 Thu – 18:10 Fri 
 US Tech 100 23:00 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:00 Thu – 18:10 Fri 
Wall Street 30 23:00 Wed – 17:59 Thu 23:00 Thu – 18:10 Fri 
 STOCKS    
US Stocks CLOSED 14:31 Fri – 17:59 Fri 

 

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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Bitcoin Cash (XBNUSD) trading suspended until further notice

7 November 2018

The BCH fork on November 15th may create a split in the BCH instrument resulting in two currencies, BCH and BSV. Due to the uncertainly around this event, at Darwinex we’ve decided to suspend opening of any new XBNUSD trades with immediate effect.

As traders trading cryptocurrency CFDs sure know, the BCH fork on November 15th may create a split in the BCH instrument (XBNUSD as provided by our liquidity provider LMAX) resulting in two currencies, BCH and BSV.

Due to the uncertainly around this event, at Darwinex we’ve decided to suspend opening of any new XBNUSD trades with immediate effect.

We’ll contact Darwinex traders with open positions in XBNUSD and recommend them to close their positions because as of November 15th our liquidity provider will stop offering liquidity for XBNUSD for an unknown period of time.

For any questions, please contact us at info@darwinex.com.

End of Daylight Saving Time in Europe (October 28th 2018)

22 October 2018

Please note that Daylight Saving Time ends in Europe on Sunday October 28th 2018 but our MT4 nd MT5 servers’ time is NOT changing until Sunday November 4th 2018 (when Daylight Saving Time ends in the US). This means that there will be 1 week (October 28th through November 2nd) where some markets will open 1 hour earlier than […]

Please note that Daylight Saving Time ends in Europe on Sunday October 28th 2018 but our MT4 nd MT5 servers’ time is NOT changing until Sunday November 4th 2018 (when Daylight Saving Time ends in the US).

This means that there will be 1 week (October 28th through November 2nd) where some markets will open 1 hour earlier than during European Daylight Saving Time (i.e. FX market will open at 21:01 GMT; commodities will open at 22:01 GMT, etc.).

 

Instrument Trading Hours in GMT
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)
US STOCKS 13:31 -19:59 (Mon – Fri)
CRYPTOCURRENCIES 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)

 

Trading hours will return to normal on Sunday November 4th 2018, 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!

 

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Starting October 24th, Fx and XAUUSD swaps will be charged in triple size on Wednesdays

16 October 2018

Please be informed that starting on Wednesday, October 24th 2018, Fx and XAUUSD swaps will be charged in triple size on Wednesdays (instead of Thursdays). Below you can find a brief summary of the different swaps charges for the assets we offer.    Instrument Swaps  FX Daily at 17:00 NY City time (in triple size on […]

Please be informed that starting on Wednesday, October 24th 2018, Fx and XAUUSD swaps will be charged in triple size on Wednesdays (instead of Thursdays).

Below you can find a brief summary of the different swaps charges for the assets we offer.

 


 Instrument Swaps 
FX Daily at 17:00 NY City time (in triple size on Wednesdays*)

Exceptions: USD/CAD and USD/TRY, charged triple size on Thursdays.

Commodities
Gold (XAUUSD) Daily at 17:00 NY City time (in triple size on Wednesdays*)
Rest of Commodities Daily at 17:00 NY City time (in triple size on Wednesdays)
Indices Daily on market close (in triple size on Fridays)
Stocks Daily on market close (in triple size on Fridays)
Cryptocurrencies Daily 17:00 NY City time (in triple size on Thursdays)

*Starting on Wednesday, October 24th 2018.

 

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

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73 % 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.