Description

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.

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:
  • Looking at the total return of 111% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (100.7%)
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or performance is 83.4%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 33.2% from the benchmark.

CAGR:

'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:
  • Looking at the annual return (CAGR) of 16.1% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (15%)
  • During the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is 22.4%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 10% from the benchmark.

Volatility:

'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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (20.9%) in the period of the last 5 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 26.3% of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus worse.
  • Compared with SPY (17.3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 22.9% is higher, thus worse.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the downside deviation of 18.7% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (15%)
  • During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 16%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 12% from the benchmark.

Sharpe:

'The Sharpe ratio (also known as the Sharpe index, the Sharpe measure, and the reward-to-variability ratio) is a way to examine the performance of an investment by adjusting for its risk. The ratio measures the excess return (or risk premium) per unit of deviation in an investment asset or a trading strategy, typically referred to as risk, named after William F. Sharpe.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.52 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.6)
  • Compared with SPY (0.44) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.87 is greater, 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 0.73, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.83) in the same period.
  • Looking at ratio of annual return and downside deviation in of 1.25 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.62).

Ulcer:

'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:
  • The Ulcer Index over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 12 , which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (9.32 ) in the same period.
  • Looking at Ulcer Ratio in of 7.63 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (10 ).

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum reduction from previous high 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 DrawDown 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).

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). 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'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the maximum days below previous high of 516 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (488 days)
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark is 126 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 488 days from the benchmark.

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the average days below previous high of 132 days in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (123 days)
  • Compared with SPY (180 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 38 days is lower, thus better.

Performance (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations ()

Allocations

Returns (%)

  • Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Maximum Yield Strategy are hypothetical and do not account for slippage, fees or taxes.
  • Results may be based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.