Due to announced delisting of ZIV as of July 12, 2020, with last trading day July 2, 2020, we're replacing ZIV by a **short **VXZ (iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN) position.

In addition due to the delisting of UGLD we've replaced this ticker now by UGL, the 3x leveraged GDL ETF.

Due to the changes, especially the shorting of VXZ, the total allocation of the strategy can 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 two ETFs: ZIV (VelocityShares Inverse VIX Medium-Term ETF) and TMF (Direxion Daily 20+ Yr Treasury 3X ETF).

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (124.9%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return of 76.9% of Maximum Yield Strategy is lower, thus worse.
- Looking at total return, or increase in value in of 24.8% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (60.5%).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (17.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.1% of Maximum Yield Strategy is lower, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (17.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% is smaller, thus worse.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The 30 days standard deviation over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 23.2%, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (18.7%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (22.6%) in the period of the last 3 years, the volatility of 26.9% is greater, thus worse.

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

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the downside volatility of 16.7% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.5%)
- Compared with SPY (16.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk of 19.4% is greater, thus worse.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the Sharpe Ratio of 0.41 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.81)
- During the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) is 0.19, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.65 from the benchmark.

'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:- The excess return divided by the downside deviation over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 0.57, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (1.12) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is 0.27, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.89 from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 10 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (5.58 )
- Compared with SPY (6.82 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Downside risk index of 13 is greater, thus worse.

'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:- Looking at the maximum drop from peak to valley of -35.7 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days)
- Looking at maximum drop from peak to valley in of -35.7 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (-33.7 days).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the maximum days below previous high of 407 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (139 days)
- Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 407 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (128 days).

'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 (32 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days under water of 96 days of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus worse.
- Looking at average days under water in of 126 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (33 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.