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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    • Monies deposited in / withdrawn by yourself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

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.