Introduction to the SPY-TLT Universal Investment Strategy (UIS) This paper discusses the simple but effective method of using adaptive allocations between stock market ETFs and Treasuries to assemble a simple yet smart Investment Strategy. This method has been developed to replace the 100% switching used in normal rotation strategies like the Maximum Yield Rotation and the Global Market Rotation strategies. The real world is just not a 100% “risk on” or “risk off” world. Most of the time, the best allocation is somewhere in between. The new method employed in this investment strategy can be adapted for nearly all types of rotation strategies and is significantly increasing the return to risk (Sharpe) ratio of such strategies. The SPY-TLT Universal Investment Strategy is very simple but also very effective. I am sure, such a simple investment strategy will nearly always perform better than any manual asset picking. The Universal Investment Strategy Probably the most basic rotation investment strategy, is the switching strategy between the S&P 500 US stock market (SPY) and long duration Treasuries (TLT). The SPY-TLT ETF pair is a very interesting investment strategy, because most of the time these two ETFs profit from an inverse correlation. If there is a real stock market correction, then Treasuries like TLT have always been the assets where money flows in, rewarding holders with nice profits. Now there are two possibilities to profit from this inverse correlation. The first is a switching strategy, which always switches to the ETF which had the best performance during the previous 3 months. This really simple switching strategy between TLT and SPY gave you a 14.8% return during the last 10 years, with twice the Sharpe ratio (return to risk) ratio of a simple SPY investment. Another strategy would be to invest 50% of your money in SPY [...]
Summary: -Aggressive leveraged version of our previously published Universal Investment Strategy -Variable SPY-TLT allocations dynamically adapted to the market conditions. -45% annual return with a Sharpe Ratio of 1.3 since 2002. Due to its simplicity and low correlation to the S&P 500, there is a continued interest in the UIS version that uses 3x leveraged ETFs: ETF SPXL (Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 3X Shares ETF) and TMF (Direxion Daily 30-Year Treasury Bull 3x Shares ETF). Following the suggested nomenclature by Al from AAII SV - and to honor their interest, we call this version “Hell on fire”, which alludes to the high risk/return profile of the strategy. We will show ways to blend this strategy in a well-balanced and risk-optimized portfolio as to overcome the generally negative perception of private investors towards leveraged ETF.