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How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Drawdown?

43 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2013 Last revised: 29 Jun 2014

Marcos Lopez de Prado

Guggenheim Partners, LLC; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Harvard University - RCC

Date Written: April 21, 2013


* Investment management firms routinely hire and fire employees based on the performance of their portfolios.

* Such performance is evaluated through popular metrics that assume IID Normal returns, like Sharpe ratio, Sortino ratio, Treynor ratio, Information ratio, etc.

* Investment returns are far from IID Normal.

* Conclusion 1: Firms evaluating performance through Sharpe ratio are firing up to three times more skillful managers than originally targeted. This is very costly to firms and investors, and is a direct consequence of wrongly assuming that returns are IID Normal.

* Conclusion 2: An accurate performance evaluation methodology is worth a substantial portion of the fees paid to hedge funds. There is a 20% loss of the drawdown for every false positive. For a large firm, this amounts to tens of millions of dollars lost annually, as a result of wrongly assuming that returns are IID Normal.

Keywords: drawdown, time under water, stop-out, triple penance, serial correlation, Sharpe ratio

JEL Classification: G0, G1, G2, G15, G24, E44

Suggested Citation

Lopez de Prado, Marcos, How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Drawdown? (April 21, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Marcos Lopez de Prado (Contact Author)

Guggenheim Partners, LLC ( email )

330 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
United States


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ( email )

1 Cyclotron Road
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States


Harvard University - RCC ( email )

26 Trowbridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States


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