Description

IMPORTANT

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. Therefore 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.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (66.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return of 170.2% of Maximum Yield Strategy is greater, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return is 43.1%, which is higher, thus better than the value of 36.1% 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (10.8%)
  • Looking at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in of 12.7% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (10.8%).

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (19%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 26.8% of Maximum Yield Strategy is larger, thus worse.
  • Compared with SPY (22%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 29.2% 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 risk of 19.5% in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.9%)
  • Looking at downside deviation in of 21.9% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (16.2%).

Sharpe:

'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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.43) in the period of the last 5 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 0.73 of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is 0.35, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.38 from the benchmark.

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.59) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1 of Maximum Yield Strategy is higher, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (0.52) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.47 is lower, thus worse.

Ulcer:

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the Downside risk index of 12 in the last 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (5.9 )
  • Looking at Ulcer Index in of 14 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (6.98 ).

MaxDD:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum reduction from previous high over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is -44.6 days, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at maximum drop from peak to valley in of -44.6 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (-33.7 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'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days below previous high of 346 days of Maximum Yield Strategy is greater, thus worse.
  • Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high of 346 days is larger, thus worse.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The average time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Maximum Yield Strategy is 77 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (44 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at average time in days below previous high water mark in of 100 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (41 days).

Performance (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations
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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, 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.