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:

'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:
  • The total return, or performance over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 184%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (66.2%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 68.7%, which is larger, thus better than the value of 47.5% from the benchmark.

CAGR:

'The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a useful measure of growth over multiple time periods. It can be thought of as the growth rate that gets you from the initial investment value to the ending investment value if you assume that the investment has been compounding over the time period.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the annual return (CAGR) of 23.2% in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (10.7%)
  • Looking at annual performance (CAGR) in of 19.1% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (13.9%).

Volatility:

'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:
  • Looking at the volatility of 23% in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.3%)
  • During the last 3 years, the volatility is 21.6%, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 12.5% from the benchmark.

DownVol:

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

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the downside deviation of 25.4% in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.6%)
  • Looking at downside risk in of 24.2% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (14.2%).

Sharpe:

'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:
  • The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 0.9, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.62) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is 0.77, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 0.91 from the benchmark.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The excess return divided by the downside deviation over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is 0.82, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.56) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation is 0.68, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.8 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 14 in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (3.96 )
  • During the last 3 years, the Downside risk index is 16 , which is greater, thus better than the value of 4.01 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum DrawDown over 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is -38.3 days, which is smaller, 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). 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'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days under water of 329 days of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy is greater, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark is 329 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 139 days from the benchmark.

AveDuration:

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the average time in days below previous high water mark of 103 days in the last 5 years of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (41 days)
  • Compared with SPY (36 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days under water of 99 days is larger, thus worse.

Performance of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy
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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.