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, 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 (63%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 64.4% of Maximum Yield Strategy is larger, thus better.
- Looking at total return, or performance in of 20.1% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (31.2%).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 10.5%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (10.3%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (9.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 6.3% is lower, thus worse.

'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:- The historical 30 days volatility over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 25.4%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (21.4%) in the same period.
- Looking at volatility in of 29% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (24.9%).

'Risk measures typically quantify the downside risk, whereas the standard deviation (an example of a deviation risk measure) measures both the upside and downside risk. Specifically, downside risk in our definition is the semi-deviation, that is the standard deviation of all negative returns.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The downside deviation over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 18.3%, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (15.6%) in the same period.
- Looking at downside deviation in of 21% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (18%).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.31 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.36)
- Compared with SPY (0.28) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.13 is smaller, thus worse.

'The Sortino ratio improves upon the Sharpe ratio by isolating downside volatility from total volatility by dividing excess return by the downside deviation. The Sortino ratio is a variation of the Sharpe ratio that differentiates harmful volatility from total overall volatility by using the asset's standard deviation of negative asset returns, called downside deviation. The Sortino ratio takes the asset's return and subtracts the risk-free rate, and then divides that amount by the asset's downside deviation. The ratio was named after Frank A. Sortino.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The excess return divided by the downside deviation over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 0.43, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.5) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (0.39) in the period of the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 0.18 is lower, thus worse.

'The ulcer index is a stock market risk measure or technical analysis indicator devised by Peter Martin in 1987, and published by him and Byron McCann in their 1989 book The Investors Guide to Fidelity Funds. It's designed as a measure of volatility, but only volatility in the downward direction, i.e. the amount of drawdown or retracement occurring over a period. Other volatility measures like standard deviation treat up and down movement equally, but a trader doesn't mind upward movement, it's the downside that causes stress and stomach ulcers that the index's name suggests.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (8.49 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Downside risk index of 12 of Maximum Yield Strategy is larger, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the Downside risk index is 16 , which is greater, thus worse 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.'

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

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Max Drawdown Duration is the worst (the maximum/longest) amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs). Many assume Max DD Duration is the length of time between new highs during which the Max DD (magnitude) occurred. But that isn’t always the case. The Max DD duration is the longest time between peaks, period. So it could be the time when the program also had its biggest peak to valley loss (and usually is, because the program needs a long time to recover from the largest loss), but it doesn’t have to be'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the maximum days below previous high of 516 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (233 days)
- Looking at maximum time in days below previous high water mark in of 516 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (233 days).

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (54 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 137 days of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark is 197 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 59 days from the benchmark.

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, 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.