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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (122%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 105.9% of Maximum Yield Strategy is lower, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return is 23.1%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 61% from the benchmark.

CAGR:

'The compound annual growth rate isn't a true return rate, but rather a representational figure. It is essentially a number that describes the rate at which an investment would have grown if it had grown the same rate every year and the profits were reinvested at the end of each year. In reality, this sort of performance is unlikely. However, CAGR can be used to smooth returns so that they may be more easily understood when compared to alternative investments.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The annual performance (CAGR) over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 15.5%, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (17.3%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) is 7.2%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 17.2% from the benchmark.

Volatility:

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (18.8%) in the period of the last 5 years, the volatility of 23.2% of Maximum Yield Strategy is greater, thus worse.
  • Compared with SPY (22.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the volatility of 26.8% 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 16.7% of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 19.3%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 16.3% from the benchmark.

Sharpe:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the Sharpe Ratio of 0.56 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.79)
  • Compared with SPY (0.65) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.17 is smaller, thus worse.

Sortino:

'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 downside risk / excess return profile over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 0.78, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (1.09) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation is 0.24, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.9 from the benchmark.

Ulcer:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The Downside risk index over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 10 , which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (5.58 ) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (6.83 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index of 12 is larger, thus worse.

MaxDD:

'Maximum drawdown is defined as the peak-to-trough decline of an investment during a specific period. It is usually quoted as a percentage of the peak value. The maximum drawdown can be calculated based on absolute returns, in order to identify strategies that suffer less during market downturns, such as low-volatility strategies. However, the maximum drawdown can also be calculated based on returns relative to a benchmark index, for identifying strategies that show steady outperformance over time.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The maximum reduction from previous high 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 reduction from previous high is -35.7 days, which is lower, thus worse than the value of -33.7 days from the benchmark.

MaxDuration:

'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) in days.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days under water of 333 days of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high is 333 days, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 139 days from the benchmark.

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 78 days, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (33 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at average days below previous high in of 102 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (34 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.