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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    • Monies deposited in / withdrawn by yourself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
apalancamiento esma

Last night’s incident on MT4 micro indices

14 November 2019

Our MT4 feed on some “micro” indices went down in the night from November 13th to November 14th, 2019. NB: the downtime did NOT affect FX pairs, commodities, stocks and cryptos on MT4, and MT5 operated as normal. This blog post explains what happened and what we did about it. What happened One of our Prime Brokers […]

Our MT4 feed on some “micro” indices went down in the night from November 13th to November 14th, 2019.

NB: the downtime did NOT affect FX pairs, commodities, stocks and cryptos on MT4, and MT5 operated as normal.

This blog post explains what happened and what we did about it.

What happened

One of our Prime Brokers had issues with their “micro” Liquidity Provider on STOXX50E, UK100, GER30 and WS30 in the very early European morning.

We worked with them to isolate, then fix the root cause  and resumed streaming later in the European morning.

Our decision

Our Operations Department has proactively reviewed all affected orders. We will pay affected customers wherever a compensation is due. Luckily enough, some of our customers benefited from this incident and made larger profits than they planned!

If you feel any of your orders ought to be reviewed, kindly reach out to info@darwinex.com. As ever, don’t forget to mention your MT4 account number and (where possible), Order ID.

We keep working hard to improve our liquidity, the better our LPs, the lower the chances that this sort of incidents take place.

Please accept our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience and do let us know if doubts remain. We’ll do our utmost to clarify!

apalancamiento esma

Upcoming Holiday in Japan on November 4th

31 October 2019

There is a public holiday in Japan on Monday, 4th of November. Kindly note that during this time spreads may be wider and liquidity may be thinner. Bank holidays may also give rise to changes on the applicable swap rates.

There is a public holiday in Japan on Monday, 4th of November. Kindly note that during this time spreads may be wider and liquidity may be thinner. Bank holidays may also give rise to changes on the applicable swap rates. For any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to info@darwinex.com.

apalancamiento esma

Upcoming Holiday In New Zealand Resulting In The Possibility Of Wider Spread

25 October 2019

Please be aware that there is a public holiday in New Zealand on Monday, October 28th during which spreads may be wider and liquidity may be thinner. For any questions, reach out to info@darwinex.com.

Please be aware that there is a public holiday in New Zealand on Monday, October 28th during which spreads may be wider and liquidity may be thinner. For any questions, reach out to info@darwinex.com.

apalancamiento esma

MetaTrader and Wine / PlayOnMac incompatibility on MacOS Catalina

18 October 2019

We’d like to inform you that MetaTrader terminals are currently not working correctly when using Wine or PlayOnMac on MacOS Catalina. CodeWeavers (developers of Wine) are already working on fixing this. We recommend that if you use Wine or PlayOnMac on MacOS, you postpone updating the operating system to MacOS Catalina until a solution is […]

We’d like to inform you that MetaTrader terminals are currently not working correctly when using Wine or PlayOnMac on MacOS Catalina. CodeWeavers (developers of Wine) are already working on fixing this.

We recommend that if you use Wine or PlayOnMac on MacOS, you postpone updating the operating system to MacOS Catalina until a solution is ready.

In the meantime, users who are already affected can continue using MetaTrader on MacOS by installing Windows as an alternative OS or by using Parallels.

For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@darwinex.com.

apalancamiento esma

Margin increase on 18 October 2019 (Professional Clients only)

17 October 2019

Please be informed that our margin requirements for Professional Clients are changing on Friday (18 October 2019) around 17:00 UK time due to the uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations. Retail Clients are not affected by this change. The new margin requirements described below will remain in force until further notice. In this connection, please note that the new margin requirements […]

Please be informed that our margin requirements for Professional Clients are changing on Friday (18 October 2019) around 17:00 UK time due to the uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations. Retail Clients are not affected by this change.

The new margin requirements described below will remain in force until further notice.

In this connection, please note that the new margin requirements will affect both EXISTING and NEW positions. Kindly make sure you have enough available margin / equity in your account for the days leading up to and during the voting/announcement of results.

 

 

Instrument Current Margin New Margin (Brexit)
FOREX
EURAUD 1.00% 2.00%
EURCAD 1.00% 2.00%
EURCHF 1.00% 2.00%
EURGBP 0.50% 2.00%
EURJPY 0.50% 2.00%
EURNOK 1.00% 2.00%
EURNZD 1.00% 2.00%
EURUSD 0.50% 2.00%
GBPAUD 1.00% 2.00%
GBPCAD 1.00% 2.00%
GBPCHF 1.00% 2.00%
GBPJPY 0.50% 2.00%
GBPNOK 1.00% 2.00%
GBPNZD 1.00% 2.00%
GBPSEK 1.00% 2.00%
GBPUSD 0.50% 2.00%
COMMODITIES
XAUUSD 0.50% 2.00%
INDICES
STOXX50E 2.00% 3.00%
UK100 2.00% 3.00%

 

For the ease of reference, Margin in % =  (1/max. leverage)* 100. In other words:

0.50 % = 1:200 leverage

1.00 % = 1:100 leverage

2.00 % = 1:50 leverage, etc.

Need help? At info@darwinex.com we’ll be happy to assist you!

 

Brexit

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Potential High Volatility upon Market Open on Sunday Oct 20th

15 October 2019

We’d like to inform our traders of the possible extraordinary UK parliamentary sitting on Saturday October 19th, 2019 where a vote may be held on any Brexit deal achieved at the EU Council meeting this week.

We’d like to inform our traders of the possible extraordinary UK parliamentary sitting on Saturday October 19th, 2019 where a vote may be held on any Brexit deal achieved at the EU Council meeting this week.

Due to the uncertainty created by this event, we urge our traders to proceed cautiously as market moves may be large. Particular attention should be paid to the market open on Sunday October 20th, where there is potential for high volatility which may cause market gaps.

To manage their account effectively, traders should review margin rates and that there is sufficient collateral to cover their exposure.

For any questions, reach out to info@darwinex.com and we’ll be happy to help.

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.