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.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The total return, or performance over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 240.6%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (77.1%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (51.7%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or performance of 99.5% is larger, thus better.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.8% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (12.1%)
- Compared with SPY (14.9%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 25.9% is larger, thus better.

'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:- Looking at the volatility of 20.8% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.3%)
- During the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation is 18.8%, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 13% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The downside risk over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 14.6%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (9.6%) in the same period.
- Looking at downside deviation in of 13.5% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (9.4%).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.72) in the period of the last 5 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 1.22 of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (0.96) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 1.25 is larger, thus better.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The excess return divided by the downside deviation over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 1.74, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (1) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation is 1.74, which is greater, thus better than the value of 1.32 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:- The Downside risk index over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 11 , which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (3.97 ) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio is 12 , which is greater, thus worse than the value of 4.1 from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is -27.6 days, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum reduction from previous high is -27.6 days, which is lower, thus worse than the value of -19.3 days from the benchmark.

'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:- Looking at the maximum days under water of 346 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (187 days)
- Looking at maximum days under water in of 346 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (139 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the average time in days below previous high water mark of 75 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (42 days)
- Compared with SPY (37 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 99 days is higher, 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 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.