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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the total return, or performance of 79.8% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (97%)
- Compared with SPY (39.3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or performance of 71.3% is larger, thus better.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.6%)
- Looking at annual return (CAGR) in of 19.7% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (11.7%).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the historical 30 days volatility of 26.3% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (20.9%)
- During the last 3 years, the volatility is 23.1%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 17.5% 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the downside risk of 18.8% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (15%)
- Looking at downside volatility in of 16.1% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (12.1%).

'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 risk / return profile (Sharpe) over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 0.38, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.58) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (0.53) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.75 is larger, thus better.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 0.53 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.8)
- Compared with SPY (0.76) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 1.07 is larger, thus better.

'The Ulcer Index is a technical indicator that measures downside risk, in terms of both the depth and duration of price declines. The index increases in value as the price moves farther away from a recent high and falls as the price rises to new highs. The indicator is usually calculated over a 14-day period, with the Ulcer Index showing the percentage drawdown a trader can expect from the high over that period. The greater the value of the Ulcer Index, the longer it takes for a stock to get back to the former high.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the Ulcer Index of 12 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (9.33 )
- Compared with SPY (10 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 7.62 is lower, thus better.

'A maximum drawdown is the maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before a new peak is attained. Maximum Drawdown is an indicator of downside risk over a specified time period. It can be used both as a stand-alone measure or as an input into other metrics such as 'Return over Maximum Drawdown' and the Calmar Ratio. Maximum Drawdown is expressed in percentage terms.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The maximum DrawDown over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is -35.7 days, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Looking at maximum drop from peak to valley in of -23.5 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (-24.5 days).

'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'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The maximum days below previous high over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 516 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (488 days) in the same period.
- Looking at maximum days under water in of 126 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (488 days).

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (123 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days below previous high of 131 days of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus worse.
- Looking at average time in days below previous high water mark in of 38 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (181 days).

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.