Description

IMPORTANT: This strategy may use a leveraged GLD position which may cause the total allocation of the strategy to exceed 100%. See more information in this article.

The 3X Universal Investment Strategy (UISx3) is a leveraged version of our core Universal Investment Strategy (UIS), an evolved, intelligent version of the classic 60/40 equity/bond portfolio that can adapt to current conditions, shifting portfolio weight away from stocks in difficult markets and adding weight to equity in bull runs.

The 3x leveraged version of the strategy employs SPXL and TMF, which are the leveraged versions of the S&P 500 ETF, the Treasury 20+ year ETF. Since there is currently no leveraged gold ETF the strategy uses a triple position in GLD. Unlike the base UIS, the leveraged version only uses TMF and GLD to hedge SPXL exposure.

The UISx3 is appropriate for investors who are comfortable taking on higher risks in exchange for the potential for of higher returns. Because leveraged ETFs are used, we recommend allocating no more than 15% of your total portfolio to this strategy.

Methodology & Assets
  • SPXL - Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 3X Shares ETF
  • TMF - Direxion Daily 30-Year Treasury Bull 3x Shares ETF
  • GLD - SPDR Gold Trust

Statistics (YTD)

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

TotalReturn:

'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 performance over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 87.5%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (75.6%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 15.2%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 40% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (11.9%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4% of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is greater, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 4.8%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 11.9% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the 30 days standard deviation of 28.4% in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (20.3%)
  • During the last 3 years, the volatility is 33.4%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 23.6% from the benchmark.

DownVol:

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the downside deviation of 20.9% in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.9%)
  • Compared with SPY (17.3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 24.8% is larger, thus worse.

Sharpe:

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the Sharpe Ratio of 0.38 in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.46)
  • Looking at risk / return profile (Sharpe) in of 0.07 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.4).

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.52 in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.63)
  • During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is 0.09, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.54 from the benchmark.

Ulcer:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the Downside risk index of 17 in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (6.62 )
  • Looking at Ulcer Ratio in of 21 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (7.55 ).

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -48.8 days of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is lower, thus worse.
  • Looking at maximum reduction from previous high in of -48.8 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (-33.7 days).

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). 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 time in days below previous high water mark of 456 days in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (139 days)
  • Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 456 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (120 days).

AveDuration:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (37 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days below previous high of 129 days of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is greater, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the average days below previous high is 160 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 31 days from the benchmark.

Performance (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations ()

Allocations

Returns (%)

  • Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage 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.