IMPORTANT: This strategy can use a **short** VXZ position which may cause the total allocation of the strategy to be less than 100%. See more information in this article.

The Maximum Yield Rotation Strategy is a high-performing, high-risk investment strategy that rebalances twice a month. It trades one of the most profitable asset classes, volatility, by rebalancing a portfolio between three ETFs: short VXZ (iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN), UBT (ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury) and UGL (ProShares Ultra Gold).

When you trade inverse volatility, which means going short VIX, you play the role of an insurer who sells worried investors an insurance policy to protect them from falling stock markets. Investing in inverse volatility means nothing more than taking over the risk and collecting this insurance premium from worried investors. This obviously needs to be done carefully by following a rules-based strategy.

This strategy is a good way to profit from VIX contango while minimizing heavy losses during volatility spikes. Since treasury bonds and inverse volatility have shown significant negative correlation to each other, the strategy reduces losses during financial crisis by switching early into treasuries. It is still a risky strategy and large drawdown are to be expected, so we recommend allocating no more than 15% of your overall portfolio.

For more information on trading "short volatility", read our original whitepaper on the topic.

'Total return is the amount of value an investor earns from a security over a specific period, typically one year, when all distributions are reinvested. Total return is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. For example, a total return of 20% means the security increased by 20% of its original value due to a price increase, distribution of dividends (if a stock), coupons (if a bond) or capital gains (if a fund). Total return is a strong measure of an investment’s overall performance.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The total return, or increase in value over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 107.9%, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (98.3%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the total return is 104%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 27.2% from the benchmark.

'The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a useful measure of growth over multiple time periods. It can be thought of as the growth rate that gets you from the initial investment value to the ending investment value if you assume that the investment has been compounding over the time period.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The annual return (CAGR) over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 15.8%, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (14.7%) in the same period.
- Looking at annual performance (CAGR) in of 26.9% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (8.4%).

'Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. In the securities markets, volatility is often associated with big swings in either direction. For example, when the stock market rises and falls more than one percent over a sustained period of time, it is called a 'volatile' market.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the historical 30 days volatility of 27.2% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (20.9%)
- Compared with SPY (17.7%) in the period of the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 24.9% is larger, thus worse.

'The downside volatility is similar to the volatility, or standard deviation, but only takes losing/negative periods into account.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The downside risk over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 19.6%, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (14.9%) in the same period.
- Looking at downside volatility in of 17.7% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (12.4%).

'The Sharpe ratio was developed by Nobel laureate William F. Sharpe, and is used to help investors understand the return of an investment compared to its risk. The ratio is the average return earned in excess of the risk-free rate per unit of volatility or total risk. Subtracting the risk-free rate from the mean return allows an investor to better isolate the profits associated with risk-taking activities. One intuition of this calculation is that a portfolio engaging in 'zero risk' investments, such as the purchase of U.S. Treasury bills (for which the expected return is the risk-free rate), has a Sharpe ratio of exactly zero. Generally, the greater the value of the Sharpe ratio, the more attractive the risk-adjusted return.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.49 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.58)
- Looking at Sharpe Ratio in of 0.98 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.33).

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 0.68, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.82) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (0.47) in the period of the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.38 is greater, thus better.

'Ulcer Index is a method for measuring investment risk that addresses the real concerns of investors, unlike the widely used standard deviation of return. UI is a measure of the depth and duration of drawdowns in prices from earlier highs. Using Ulcer Index instead of standard deviation can lead to very different conclusions about investment risk and risk-adjusted return, especially when evaluating strategies that seek to avoid major declines in portfolio value (market timing, dynamic asset allocation, hedge funds, etc.). The Ulcer Index was originally developed in 1987. Since then, it has been widely recognized and adopted by the investment community. According to Nelson Freeburg, editor of Formula Research, Ulcer Index is “perhaps the most fully realized statistical portrait of risk there is.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (9.32 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Downside risk index of 12 of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio is 7.27 , which is smaller, thus better than the value of 10 from the benchmark.

'Maximum drawdown measures the loss in any losing period during a fund’s investment record. It is defined as the percent retrenchment from a fund’s peak value to the fund’s valley value. The drawdown is in effect from the time the fund’s retrenchment begins until a new fund high is reached. The maximum drawdown encompasses both the period from the fund’s peak to the fund’s valley (length), and the time from the fund’s valley to a new fund high (recovery). It measures the largest percentage drawdown that has occurred in any fund’s data record.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is -35.7 days, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown is -23.5 days, which is larger, thus better than the value of -24.5 days from the benchmark.

'The Maximum Drawdown Duration is an extension of the Maximum Drawdown. However, this metric does not explain the drawdown in dollars or percentages, rather in days, weeks, or months. It is the length of time the account was in the Max Drawdown. A Max Drawdown measures a retrenchment from when an equity curve reaches a new high. It’s the maximum an account lost during that retrenchment. This method is applied because a valley can’t be measured until a new high occurs. Once the new high is reached, the percentage change from the old high to the bottom of the largest trough is recorded.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The maximum time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 516 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (488 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum days under water is 126 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 488 days from the benchmark.

'The Average Drawdown Duration is an extension of the Maximum Drawdown. However, this metric does not explain the drawdown in dollars or percentages, rather in days, weeks, or months. The Avg Drawdown Duration is the average amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs), or in other terms the average of time under water of all drawdowns. So in contrast to the Maximum duration it does not measure only one drawdown event but calculates the average of all.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (123 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days below previous high of 133 days of Maximum Yield Strategy is greater, thus worse.
- Looking at average days under water in of 32 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (177 days).

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of Maximum Yield Strategy are hypothetical and do not account for slippage, fees or taxes.
- Results may be based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.