Time Weighted Return (TWR) and Money Weighted Return (MWR) are two distinct methods for evaluating and comparing investments or projects.
Time Weighted Returns (TWR):
Money Weighted Returns (MWR):
Let’s look at an example:
We have 2 investment portfolios, Portfolio A and Portfolio B. Both achieve the same returns over two consecutive years. We invest USD 100,000 in both funds as follows:
Year 1: We invest USD 100,000 in Fund A
Year 2: We invest USD 0 in Fund A
Year 1: We invest USD 50,000 in Fund B
Year 2: We invest USD 50,000 in Fund B
Portfolios | Return Year 1 | Return Year 2 |
Portfolio A | 20% | 10% |
Investment | 100.000 | 0 |
Portafolio B | 20% | 10% |
Investment | 50.000 | 50.000 |
How do we calculate the Time-Weighted Return (TWR) of each fund?:
Fund A:
Year 1 return x Year 2 return, and we find the geometric average of this product
=(1.20 * 1.10)^0.5 – 1 = 14.89%
Fund B:
Year 1 return x Year 2 return, and we find the geometric average of this product
=(1.20 * 1.10)^0.5 – 1 = 14.89%
Both portfolios have the same average annual return.
How do we calculate the Money-Weighted Return (MWR) of each fund?:
Fund A:
100,000 * 1.20 * 1.10 = 132,000
132,000 / 100,000 = 14.89%
Fund B:
50,000 * 1.20 * 1.10 + 50,000 * 1.10 = 121,000
So: ⟮(50,000 x MWR rate) + 50,000⟯ x MWR rate = 121,000. In other words, we find the rate at which the 50,000 invested in year 1, to which 50,000 is added in year 2, and ends up being 121,000 at the end of the period. This can be easily done with an Excel spreadsheet using the IRR formula.
Solving this equation, we get an MWR = 13.40%
As we can see, the timing and amount of the investment in Fund B resulted in a lower final value compared to the investment in Fund A. Even though the same amount was invested, in two strategies with equal returns, different returns were derived. This is because in Portfolio A, the total 100,000 was invested in the year with better returns, while in Fund B it was split evenly. Therefore, the relatively greater “weight” of the return on the 100,000 made the “money” return higher for Portfolio A.
Which of the two measures should we use? Is one better than the other?
The answer to question 1 is “it depends,” and the answer to question 2 is a resounding no!
As we explained at the beginning, each way of measuring return has different objectives and interpretations of different usefulness. If the goal is to evaluate the performance of my investment strategy relative to the market’s performance in general and other investment strategies, it is most correct to compare the TWRs since this measure will not be “contaminated” by either time or the amount of investment.
If the objective is to measure the return of my portfolio specifically by evaluating how I performed with my investments over a given period of time with a certain number and amount of deposits, the MWR will provide me with the actual rate at which my money grew, having invested it in both good and bad years, ultimately, “my reality”.
Ec. Juan Martín Rodríguez, CFA
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