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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    • Monies deposited in / withdrawn by yourself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
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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!

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Choose among several banks when sending funds to your Wallet

13 September 2018

When sending funds to your Wallet via bank transfer, you can now choose among several banks. These banks are: – Santander UK – NatWest – Banc Sabadell London Choose whichever you prefer as the destination bank of your monies. After When clicking “Next”, you’ll receive all the details for the bank transfer on the screen […]

When sending funds to your Wallet via bank transfer, you can now choose among several banks. These banks are:

  • – Santander UK
  • – NatWest
  • – Banc Sabadell London

bank transfer options

Choose whichever you prefer as the destination bank of your monies. After When clicking “Next”, you’ll receive all the details for the bank transfer on the screen and via email.

Amended Trading Hours due to U.S. Labour Day on September 3rd, 2018

30 August 2018

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming U.S. Labour Day on September 3rd, 2018. All times are in UK (BST) time.    Instrument Trading Hours on September 3rd 2018  COMMODITIES   Gold 23:01 Sun – 17:59 Mon Silver 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon Platinum 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon Palladium 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon US […]

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming U.S. Labour Day on September 3rd, 2018. All times are in UK (BST) time.

 


 Instrument Trading Hours on September 3rd 2018
 COMMODITIES  
Gold 23:01 Sun – 17:59 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
Natural Gas 23:00 Sun – 17:45 Mon
 INDICES  
Japan 225 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon 
 US SPX 500 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon
 US Tech 100 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon
Wall Street 30 23:00 Sun – 18:00 Mon
US STOCKS
All 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!

UK100 index CFD will be closed on Monday 27th August

20 August 2018

Please note that the UK100 index CFD will be closed on Monday 27th August due to UK Summer Bank Holiday. All other assets will trade according to the usual trading hours. 

Please note that the UK100 index CFD will be closed on Monday 27th August due to UK Summer Bank Holiday. All other assets will trade according to the usual trading hours. 

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.