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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (81.5%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 79.7% of Maximum Yield Strategy is lower, thus worse.
- Looking at total return, or performance in of 24.5% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (48.1%).

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (12.7%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5% of Maximum Yield Strategy is lower, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) is 7.6%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 14% from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The 30 days standard deviation over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 24.7%, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (20.5%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the volatility is 28.5%, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 23.8% from the benchmark.

'Downside risk is the financial risk associated with losses. That is, it is the risk of the actual return being below the expected return, or the uncertainty about the magnitude of that difference. 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (15%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside deviation of 17.9% of Maximum Yield Strategy is larger, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the downside volatility is 20.8%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 17.3% from the benchmark.

'The Sharpe ratio is the measure of risk-adjusted return of a financial portfolio. Sharpe ratio is a measure of excess portfolio return over the risk-free rate relative to its standard deviation. Normally, the 90-day Treasury bill rate is taken as the proxy for risk-free rate. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers. The measure was named after William F Sharpe, a Nobel laureate and professor of finance, emeritus at Stanford University.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 0.4, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.5) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (0.48) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.18 is lower, thus worse.

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.68) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.56 of Maximum Yield Strategy is lower, thus worse.
- Looking at downside risk / excess return profile in of 0.24 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.66).

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (7.13 ) 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 Downside risk index is 15 , which is greater, thus worse than the value of 8.25 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 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 drop from peak to valley is -35.7 days, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of -33.7 days from the benchmark.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (150 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 516 days of Maximum Yield Strategy is larger, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (150 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 516 days is higher, thus worse.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the average time in days below previous high water mark of 136 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (41 days)
- During the last 3 years, the average days under water is 193 days, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 36 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.