Description

IMPORTANT

Due to announced delisting of ZIV as of July 12, 2020, with last trading day July 2, 2020, we're replacing ZIV by a short VXZ (iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN) position.

In addition due to the delisting of UGLD we've replaced this ticker now by UGL, the 3x leveraged GDL ETF.

Due to the changes, especially the shorting of VXZ, the total allocation of the strategy can 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 two ETFs: ZIV (VelocityShares Inverse VIX Medium-Term ETF) and TMF (Direxion Daily 20+ Yr Treasury 3X ETF).

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.

Statistics (YTD)

What do these metrics mean? [Read More] [Hide]

TotalReturn:

'Total return, when measuring performance, is the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time. Total return accounts for two categories of return: income including interest paid by fixed-income investments, distributions or dividends and capital appreciation, representing the change in the market price of an asset.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (121.2%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or increase in value of 120.9% of Maximum Yield Strategy is lower, thus worse.
  • Looking at total return, or performance in of 32.4% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (67.5%).

CAGR:

'Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a business and investing specific term for the geometric progression ratio that provides a constant rate of return over the time period. CAGR is not an accounting term, but it is often used to describe some element of the business, for example revenue, units delivered, registered users, etc. CAGR dampens the effect of volatility of periodic returns that can render arithmetic means irrelevant. It is particularly useful to compare growth rates from various data sets of common domain such as revenue growth of companies in the same industry.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 17.2%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (17.2%) in the same period.
  • Looking at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in of 9.8% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (18.7%).

Volatility:

'Volatility is a rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a given set of returns. Volatility is measured by calculating the standard deviation of the annualized returns over a given period of time. It shows the range to which the price of a security may increase or decrease. Volatility measures the risk of a security. It is used in option pricing formula to gauge the fluctuations in the returns of the underlying assets. Volatility indicates the pricing behavior of the security and helps estimate the fluctuations that may happen in a short period of time.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (18.7%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 23.2% of Maximum Yield Strategy is larger, thus worse.
  • Compared with SPY (22.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 26.5% is greater, thus worse.

DownVol:

'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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (13.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside volatility of 16.5% of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 19.1%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 16.3% from the benchmark.

Sharpe:

'The Sharpe ratio (also known as the Sharpe index, the Sharpe measure, and the reward-to-variability ratio) is a way to examine the performance of an investment by adjusting for its risk. The ratio measures the excess return (or risk premium) per unit of deviation in an investment asset or a trading strategy, typically referred to as risk, named after William F. Sharpe.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the Sharpe Ratio of 0.63 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.79)
  • Compared with SPY (0.72) in the period of the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 0.28 is smaller, thus worse.

Sortino:

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (1.08) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.89 of Maximum Yield Strategy is lower, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation is 0.38, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 1 from the benchmark.

Ulcer:

'The Ulcer Index is a technical indicator that measures downside risk, in terms of both the depth and duration of price declines. The index increases in value as the price moves farther away from a recent high and falls as the price rises to new highs. The indicator is usually calculated over a 14-day period, with the Ulcer Index showing the percentage drawdown a trader can expect from the high over that period. The greater the value of the Ulcer Index, the longer it takes for a stock to get back to the former high.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The Ulcer Ratio over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 9.73 , which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (5.59 ) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (6.83 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 11 is greater, thus worse.

MaxDD:

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the maximum DrawDown of -35.7 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days)
  • Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -35.7 days is lower, thus worse.

MaxDuration:

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days below previous high of 289 days of Maximum Yield Strategy is greater, thus worse.
  • Looking at maximum days under water in of 289 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (139 days).

AveDuration:

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The average days under water over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 67 days, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (33 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at average time in days below previous high water mark in of 84 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (35 days).

Performance (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations
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Allocations

Returns (%)

  • Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Maximum Yield Strategy are hypothetical, do not account for slippage, fees or taxes, and are based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.