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A Guide to Understand Time Weighted Rate of Return

23 Aug 2023

Investing is a complex journey that involves making informed decisions, analyzing market trends, and assessing the performance of your portfolio over time. One crucial metric that you can use to check your investments is the Time-Weighted Rate of Return (TWRR). The TWRR is a method of calculating the compound growth rate of an investment over a specific period. 

This metric offers a clearer perspective on the performance of your investments, free from the distortions caused by external factors like deposits or withdrawals.

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Why is TWRR important? 

Understanding TWRR is significant as it informs you about your investments' accurate and unbiased performance across various periods. This becomes significant, especially when you have made deposits or withdrawals from your investment portfolio.

Here's why TWRR is essential:

  1. Exact performance: TWRR considers the impact of changes in your investment portfolio, like deposits and withdrawals, during specific intervals. This accuracy is crucial as it reflects your investment’s performance without being distorted by external cash movements.
  2. Fair comparisons: TWRR enables you to compare different investments or portfolio managers. It ensures the performance evaluation isn't influenced by the timing or amount of cash added or taken out.
  3. Realistic view: Calculating returns for each period with investment changes provides a more realistic picture of your investment performance. This helps you make informed decisions based on the actual performance of your investments.
  4. Looking at returns: TWRR aligns with your interests by focusing on investment returns rather than your actions. This is essential because you might have different reasons for adding or withdrawing money. TWRR ensures your decisions don't distort the evaluation.
  5. Transparency: TWRR provides transparency in evaluating your investment performance. It simplifies understanding your investment performance and empowers you with accurate information for financial decisions.
  6. Checking strategies: TWRR lets you determine if your investment approach is doing well in the long run. It shows you if you should change how you're investing.
  7. Industry standards: TWRR is a globally recognized way of checking how well investments are doing. It's trusted and used by investment professionals and regulators to maintain consistency and reliability in performance reporting.

Factors to consider when calculating the time-weighted rate of return

Sub-periods: You can divide their investment horizon into sub-periods or intervals. They represent the time between significant cash flow events or valuation dates.

Valuation dates: These dates are the ends of each sub-period. An investment's value is determined at these points, allowing for the calculation of returns for each sub-period.

Cash movements: Any time you put in or take out money while investing, it affects how much your investments are worth. You can consider these money movements by looking at the value of your investments each time money goes in or out.

The above factors help you see how TWRR can indicate the performance of your investments without getting confused by external or internal financial fluctuations.

What is the formula for calculating TWRR?

You can compute the TWRR using the following formula:

TWRR = [(1 + R1) x (1 + R2) x ... x (1 + Rn)] - 1

where:

  • R1, R2, and Rn represent the individual returns observed during each sub-period, expressed as decimals
  • “n” is the number of sub-periods

To calculate the returns for each sub-period, subtract the beginning balance of the sub-period from the ending balance. To reach the final result, divide the number arrived at by the beginning balance of the sub-period.

For example, suppose you decide to invest Rs. 1,000 in a mutual fund. The fund returns 0.10 in the first year and 0.05 in the second. The calculation of TWRR for the two years is as follows:

TWRR = [(1 + 0.10) x (1 + 0.05)] - 1 = 1.15 - 1 = 0.15 = 15%

This means your investment has grown to Rs. 1150 over the two years at a return rate of 15%.

To sum it up

Understanding TWRR is vital for making well-informed investment choices. By grasping its significance, you can accurately gauge your investment performance and decide whether to hold or adjust your investments. 

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