# Time-Weighted Return

Last Updated :

21 Aug, 2024

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Dheeraj Vaidya

Table Of Contents

## What Is Time-Weighted Return (TWR)?

Time-weighted return (TWR) is a performance statistic that's frequently used to evaluate a portfolio's investment performance over a given time frame. It provides a more accurate indicator of the investment manager's ability to generate returns than other return computations since it does away with the influence of external cash flows.

The main objective of time-weighted returns is to isolate the performance of the investment plan from the effects of external factors, such as deposits and withdrawals. In this approach, the performance of the portfolio over time can be compared, independent of the quantity and timing of cash inflows or withdrawals.

##### Table of contents

- Time-weighted return (TWR) is an advanced, time-based performance indicator for investments.
- It removes any distortions from deposits, withdrawals, or dividends and only considers returns produced by changes in the market.
- It computes the snowball effect, which captures the complete effect of profits for reinvestment.
- It makes it possible to compare portfolios relatively to one another or market indices.
- It reveals which investment choices actually fueled the expansion.

### Time-Weighted Return Explained

The Time-Weighted Return (TWR) is a performance indicator that accounts for the impact of external cash flows when evaluating the compounded rate of return on an investment portfolio. Taking the client deposits and withdrawals out of the calculation provides a more accurate measure of an investment manager's skill. TWR's calculation joins the sub-period returns in order to prevent the timing and size of cash flows from distorting the assessment of overall performance.

TWR is a return metric that came from the portfolio management industry. It came to light because of the shortcomings of existing return metrics, such as the money-weighted return (MWR). Because MWR takes into account the timing and amount of cash flows, it is susceptible to changes in the amount and timing of contributions to and withdrawals from investments. However, TWR was in response to the need for a more objective and comparable metric. TWR's emphasis on eliminating the impact of external cash movements makes it an indispensable tool for accurately evaluating the long-term actual performance of investments.

### Formula

Here's how TWR's formula works:

**Segmentation:**- Divide the investment timeline into distinct periods based on cash flow activity (deposits or withdrawals). Each period operates as a mini-investment journey.

**Individual Returns:**- For each period, calculate the return using this simple formula:
*Return = (Ending Value - Beginning Value - Cash Flow) / (Beginning Value + Cash Flow)*

**Geometric Linkage:**- Assume each period's return as a building block. TWR chains them together, reflecting the compounding effect of time. The formula stitches these blocks together:
*TWR = - 1*

### Calculation Examples

Let us understand it better using examples:

#### Example #1

Let's consider an imaginary investment scenario to demonstrate the calculation of Time-Weighted Return (TWR) using the given formula:

**Segmentation:**

Period 1: Investment starts with $10,000.

2: Withdrawal of $2,000, leaving $8,000.

3: Investment gains $1,000, ending with $9,000.

**Individual Returns:**

Return for period 1: (10,000-10,000-0)/(10,000+0) = 0%

2: (8,000-10,000-(-2000))/(10,000+(-2000)) = -25%

3: (9000-8000-0)/(8000+0) = 12.5%

**Geometric Linkage:**

- TWR = (1+0) x (1-0.25) x (1+0.125) – 1
- TWR = 1 x 0.75 x 1.125 – 1
- TWR = 0.84375

Here, the Time-Weighted Return (TWR) is approximately 84.38%. This reflects the compounding effect of time and accurately accounts for the distinct periods of investment activity, providing a more precise measure of performance.

#### Example #2

According to a 2023 Morningstar analysis, poor market timing costs investors one-fifth of their fund returns. The research highlights the significance of time in investing decision-making, in addition to fund performance. The 20% average decline in fund returns that investors saw due to poorly timed buys and sells serves as further evidence of the necessity for strategic investment methods. In order to provide an accurate picture of investment performance, time-weighted return (TWR) removes the impact of external cash flows.

### Importance

TWR is essential because of the following:

**Uncovering the Real Picture**: TWR separates the unadulterated influence of market performance on the portfolio as opposed to fundamental returns, which are influenced by cash flows. It is evident from this which choices made waves versus those that actually aided in growth.**Equitable Comparisons:**To ensure relevant comparisons, TWR creates an even playing field. TWR removes cash flow distortions and is beneficial for assessing fund managers, selecting investment strategies, or monitoring performance against benchmarks.**Dilution of Wisdom:**Recall that investments compound over time. Early gains amplify compounded returns, and TWR aptly illustrates this phenomenon. One is then more equipped to maximize the long-term wealth and reinvest dividends.**Risk-Adjusted Insights**: TWR encompasses more than just pure profits. TWR assists in determining the actual cost of pursuing rapid profits as opposed to concentrating on sustained growth by accounting for volatility and return timing.**Establishing Trust Through Transparency:**TWR promotes accountability and transparency through its rigorous time-based methodology. By strengthening bonds with advisers and fund managers, investors can be assured that returns are computed relatively and consistently.

### Time-Weighted Return vs Money-Weighted Return

Here are the main differences between the two:

Feature | Time-Weighted Return (TWR) | Money-Weighted Return (MWR) |
---|---|---|

Focus | Isolates the impact of market returns on portfolio growth | Measures the investor's overall portfolio performance, including cash flows |

Cash Flows | Ignored: Neutralizes the effect of deposits, withdrawals, and dividends | Not suitable for Comparing across portfolios with inconsistent cash flows, assessing investor skill |

Compounding | Accurately reflected: Captures how early gains amplify future returns | Less precise: May understate or overstate compounding depending on cash flow timing |

Comparisons | Ideal for: Evaluating fund managers, comparing portfolios with different cash flows, and benchmarking | Not suitable for comparing across portfolios with inconsistent cash flows, assessing investor skill |

Transparency | High: Highlights which investment decisions led to growth | Lower: Can mask the impact of individual decisions due to cash flow distortions |

Complexity | Moderate: Requires calculating holding period returns for each sub-period | High: Can be challenging to calculate, especially for complex portfolios |

Risk-Adjustment | Not directly integrated: Requires separate risk measures like Sharpe ratio | Can incorporate risk: Accounts for risk-adjusted return based on cash flow timing |

### Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

**1. What is time-weighted return distribution and dividend policy?**

It assumes that every dividend and distribution is promptly reinvested in the portfolio. It is essential to be aware of this assumption, even if it is a common one in performance evaluation when comparing TWRs to other metrics that do not.

**2. How do time-weighted returns handle fees and costs?**

It does not take fees and costs into consideration. Fees and expenses must be taken into separate accounts when evaluating overall performance since TWR gives the manager's investment decisions precedence over the collective experience of investors.

**3. What distinguishes time-weighted return from other performance measures, such as the Sharpe and Sortino ratios?**

While Sharpe and Sortino's ratios measure the risk-adjusted return, the growth rate of a portfolio is determined by TWR. Combining these measures provides a comprehensive assessment of investment success.

**4. How can I compute time-weighted returns with a spreadsheet?**

Excel's XIRR function or Google Sheets can be used to calculate TWR. This gives the internal rate of return (IRR) for a series of non-periodic cash flows.

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