Description

IMPORTANT

Due to announced delisting of UGLD as of July 12, 2020, with last trading day July 2, 2020, we're replacing UGLD by a leveraged GLD position. Therefore the total allocation of the strategy can 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, TMF and UGLD, which are the leveraged versions of the S&P 500 ETF, the Treasury 20+ year ETF and the Gold ETF. Unlike the base UIS, the leveraged version only uses TMF and UGLD 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
  • UGLD - VelocityShares 3x Long Gold ETN

Statistics (YTD)

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

TotalReturn:

'The total return on a portfolio of investments takes into account not only the capital appreciation on the portfolio, but also the income received on the portfolio. The income typically consists of interest, dividends, and securities lending fees. This contrasts with the price return, which takes into account only the capital gain on an investment.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The total return over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 185.1%, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (124.9%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 99.2%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 60.5% from the benchmark.

CAGR:

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the annual return (CAGR) of 23.4% in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (17.6%)
  • Compared with SPY (17.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.9% is larger, thus better.

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:
  • The historical 30 days volatility over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 26.4%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (18.7%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the volatility is 30.8%, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 22.6% 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The downside risk over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 19.1%, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (13.5%) in the same period.
  • Looking at downside risk in of 22.3% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (16.4%).

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:
  • The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 0.79, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.81) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (0.65) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.76 is higher, thus better.

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:
  • Looking at the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.09 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 (1.12)
  • Compared with SPY (0.89) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.05 is larger, thus better.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (5.58 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 13 of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is greater, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the Downside risk index is 15 , which is larger, thus worse than the value of 6.82 from the benchmark.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is -40.7 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 -40.7 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (-33.7 days).

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The maximum days below previous high over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 268 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (128 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high of 268 days is higher, thus worse.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the average days below previous high of 75 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 (32 days)
  • Looking at average time in days below previous high water mark in of 67 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (33 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 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.