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.

- 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

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the total return, or performance of 246.4% in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (66.6%)
- During the last 3 years, the total return, or performance is 110.4%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 36.1% from the benchmark.

'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:- The annual return (CAGR) over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 28.2%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (10.8%) in the same period.
- Looking at annual performance (CAGR) in of 28.2% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (10.8%).

'In finance, volatility (symbol σ) is the degree of variation of a trading price series over time as measured by the standard deviation of logarithmic returns. Historic volatility measures a time series of past market prices. Implied volatility looks forward in time, being derived from the market price of a market-traded derivative (in particular, an option). Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The 30 days standard deviation over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 25.2%, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (19%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation is 27.8%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 22% from the benchmark.

'The downside volatility is similar to the volatility, or standard deviation, but only takes losing/negative periods into account.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the downside volatility of 18.2% in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.9%)
- Compared with SPY (16.2%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 20.4% is higher, thus worse.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 1.02, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.43) in the same period.
- Looking at Sharpe Ratio in of 0.92 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.38).

'The Sortino ratio, a variation of the Sharpe ratio only factors in the downside, or negative volatility, rather than the total volatility used in calculating the Sharpe ratio. The theory behind the Sortino variation is that upside volatility is a plus for the investment, and it, therefore, should not be included in the risk calculation. Therefore, the Sortino ratio takes upside volatility out of the equation and uses only the downside standard deviation in its calculation instead of the total standard deviation that is used in calculating the Sharpe ratio.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.59) in the period of the last 5 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.41 of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is larger, thus better.
- During the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation is 1.26, which is greater, thus better than the value of 0.52 from the benchmark.

'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 Ulcer Ratio of 8.53 in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (5.9 )
- Looking at Downside risk index in of 9.41 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (6.98 ).

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -42.7 days of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is lower, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown is -42.7 days, which is lower, thus worse than the value of -33.7 days from the benchmark.

'The Maximum 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. It is the length of time the account was in the Max Drawdown. A Max Drawdown measures a retrenchment from when an equity curve reaches a new high. It’s the maximum an account lost during that retrenchment. This method is applied because a valley can’t be measured until a new high occurs. Once the new high is reached, the percentage change from the old high to the bottom of the largest trough is recorded.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 265 days of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is higher, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days under water of 265 days is larger, 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:- The average days below previous high over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 56 days, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (44 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (41 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days under water of 65 days is larger, thus worse.

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 Leveraged Universal Investment 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.