Due to announced delisting of UGLD as of July 12, 2020, with last trading day July 2, 2020, we're replacing UGLD by a leveraged GLD position. Therefore the total allocation of the strategy can exceed 100%. See more information in this article.

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.

- 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

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (95%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return of 436.4% of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is larger, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (40.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or performance of 188% is greater, thus better.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (14.3%) in the period of the last 5 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 39.9% of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is greater, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (12%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 42.3% is larger, thus better.

'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:- The volatility over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 25.5%, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (18.8%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation is 28.6%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 22.4% from the benchmark.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The downside deviation over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 18%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (13.7%) in the same period.
- Looking at downside volatility in of 20.4% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (16.5%).

'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 1.47 in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.63)
- During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 1.39, which is higher, thus better than the value of 0.43 from the benchmark.

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The downside risk / excess return profile over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 2.08, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.86) in the same period.
- Looking at downside risk / excess return profile in of 1.95 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.58).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the Downside risk index of 7.87 in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (5.79 )
- Looking at Ulcer Index in of 8.64 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (7.09 ).

'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 drop from peak to valley over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is -40.7 days, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown of -40.7 days is lower, thus worse.

'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:- The maximum time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 265 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high is 265 days, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 139 days from the benchmark.

'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:- The average days under water over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 50 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (37 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the average days below previous high is 66 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 45 days from the benchmark.

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 Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage 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.