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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

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.

UK100 closed on 6th May 2019

29 April 2019

Please note that on Monday 6th May 2019, the UK100 index CFD will be closed due to bank holiday in the United Kingdom.

Please note that on Monday 6th May 2019, the UK100 index CFD will be closed due to bank holiday in the United Kingdom.

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 and changes to EUR swaps: 1st May 2019

24 April 2019

Please note that amended Darwinex trading hours will apply on Wednesday 1st May 2019. There will also be changes to the way EUR swaps get charged / credited during next week due to the bank holiday on May 1st. Indices Wednesday 1st May 2019 STOXX50E CLOSED FCHI40 CLOSED GDAXI CLOSED SPA35 CLOSED   The rest of […]

Please note that amended Darwinex trading hours will apply on Wednesday 1st May 2019. There will also be changes to the way EUR swaps get charged / credited during next week due to the bank holiday on May 1st.

Indices Wednesday 1st May 2019
STOXX50E CLOSED
FCHI40 CLOSED
GDAXI CLOSED
SPA35 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 on ANZAC Day on 25th April 2019

22 April 2019

Please note that on Thursday 25th April 2019, the Australia 200 index CFD will open at 8:10 and close at 22:00 BST. The rest of the assets will trade according to their usual trading time.

Please note that on Thursday 25th April 2019, the Australia 200 index CFD will open at 8:10 and close at 22:00 BST.

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

Trading Schedule for the 2019 Easter Holiday Period

11 April 2019

Please note the amended Darwinex trading schedule for the 2019 Easter Holiday Period.

Please note the amended Darwinex Trading Schedule for the 2019 Easter Holiday Period.

Times are displayed in UK time and changes to regular schedules are highlighted in red.

Instrument

Thursday 18th April  Friday 19th April  Monday 22nd April
FX 22:01:01 Wed – 21:59:50 Thu 22:01:01 Thu – 21:55:00 Fri 22:05 Sun – 21:59:50 Mon
Commodities* 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu CLOSED  23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 
DARWINs 22:05 Wed – 21:59 Thu 22:05 Thu – 21:55 Fri 22:05 Sun – 21:59 Mon
Indices      
Europe50 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu  CLOSED  CLOSED
GDAXI 07:00:00 – 21:00:00  CLOSED   CLOSED
SPX500 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu  CLOSED  23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
WS30 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu  CLOSED  23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
NDX 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu  CLOSED   23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
J225  23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu CLOSED  23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
AUS200 23:00 Wed – 15:00 Thu CLOSED  CLOSED 
FCHI40  23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu  CLOSED  CLOSED
UK100 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu  CLOSED   CLOSED 
SPA35 07:00 – 19:00  CLOSED   CLOSED 
US stocks 14:31 – 20:59   CLOSED  14:31 – 20:59  
Crypto instruments 23:00 Wed – 22:00 Thu   23:00 Thu – 21:55 Fri   23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon

 

*Please, be reminded that the instrument XAUUSD closes a minute earlier, and opens a minute later, than the rest of Commodities in Darwinex as shown in the table of Darwinex assets and spreads.

Please note during Easter Holidays, swaps will be charged in a different way than on normal weeks. There may be days with swap x6 charges and days without any swap charges at all. The amount of the swap will be similar to that of normal weeks, the only thing that changes is the way it’s charged. The swap rates that appear on our site generally get updated around 19:00 BST and may suffer only minor changes afterwards.

Also note that on Friday, April 19th the US market will be closed. Fx spreads thus may widen considerably. Both traders and investors should avoid setting tight stop loss levels.

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 Knowledge Base article: Can I buy and sell DARWINs whenever I want?

Do not hesitate to contact us at info@darwinex.com for support.

Happy Easter!

dst

Start of Daylight Saving Time 2019

4 March 2019

Please note our amended trading hours for the three-week-long period between the change in the US from EST to EDT on 10th March 2019 and the subsequent change in the UK from GMT to BST on 31st March 2019.

Please note our amended trading hours for the three week period between the change in the US from EST to EDT on 10th March 2019 and the subsequent change in the UK from GMT to BST on 31st March 2019.

 

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)

 

As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch at info@darwinex.com should you need assistance.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71 % 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.