Description of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy

The 3X Universal Investment Strategy (UISx3) is a leveraged version of our core Universal Investment Strategy (UIS), an evolved, intelligent version of the classic 60/40 equity/bond portfolio that can adapt to current conditions, shifting portfolio weight away from stocks in difficult markets and adding weight to equity in bull runs.

The 3x leveraged version of the strategy employs SPXL, TMF and UGLD, which are the leveraged versions of the S&P 500 ETF, the Treasury 20+ year ETF and the Gold ETF. Unlike the base UIS, the leveraged version only uses TMF and UGLD to hedge SPXL exposure.

The UISx3 is appropriate for investors who are comfortable taking on higher risks in exchange for the potential for of higher returns. Because leveraged ETFs are used, we recommend allocating no more than 15% of your total portfolio to this strategy.

Methodology & Assets
  • SPXL - Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 3X Shares ETF
  • TMF - Direxion Daily 30-Year Treasury Bull 3x Shares ETF
  • UGLD - VelocityShares 3x Long Gold ETN

Statistics of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy (YTD)

What do these metrics mean? [Read More] [Hide]

TotalReturn:

'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:
  • The total return, or performance over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 205.7%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (64.5%) in the same period.
  • Looking at total return, or performance in of 74.5% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (47.3%).

CAGR:

'Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a business and investing specific term for the geometric progression ratio that provides a constant rate of return over the time period. CAGR is not an accounting term, but it is often used to describe some element of the business, for example revenue, units delivered, registered users, etc. CAGR dampens the effect of volatility of periodic returns that can render arithmetic means irrelevant. It is particularly useful to compare growth rates from various data sets of common domain such as revenue growth of companies in the same industry.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The annual performance (CAGR) over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 25.1%, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (10.5%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (13.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 20.5% is higher, thus better.

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:
  • The volatility over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 23%, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (13.3%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (12.6%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 21.6% is larger, thus worse.

DownVol:

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

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the downside risk of 25.6% in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.6%)
  • During the last 3 years, the downside volatility is 24.3%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 14.3% from the benchmark.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.6) in the period of the last 5 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.98 of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is higher, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (0.9) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.83 is smaller, thus worse.

Sortino:

'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 Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 0.88, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.55) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation is 0.74, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.79 from the benchmark.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 14 in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (3.99 )
  • During the last 3 years, the Downside risk index is 16 , which is larger, thus worse than the value of 4.05 from the benchmark.

MaxDD:

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The maximum reduction from previous high over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is -38.3 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 -38.3 days, which is lower, thus worse than the value of -19.3 days from the benchmark.

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) in days.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The maximum days below previous high over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 348 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 348 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (139 days).

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 under water of 109 days in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (41 days)
  • Looking at average days below previous high in of 106 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (36 days).

Performance of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy
()

Allocations

Returns of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy (%)

  • "Year" returns in the table above are not equal to the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Leveraged Universal Investment 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.