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Volatility Premium – Why we invest in ZIV and not in XIV

Several times I have been asked why we invest in ZIV (inverse mid-term volatility) and not in XIV (inverse front month volatility) in our Maximum Yield Rotation Strategy and in the "Global Market Rotation Enhanced Strategy" to harvest the volatility premium. Harvest Volatility Premium smartly After all, front month VIX Future contango is about 2-3x bigger then medium term contango. At the moment XIV profits from nearly 9% monthly VIX Futures contango. ZIV profits from about 3% monthly VIX Futures contango, or volatility premium Normally you would think that XIV should have a far better performance than ZIV, but now look at this chart of the 1 year performance. ZIV has performed very well. With 64% annual performance it performs nearly 4% better than XIV and this with much less volatility - thus allows better to harvest the volatility premium. The main problem is that both of the ETFs are inverse ETFs. This means that underlying they are constructed by shorting VIX futures. These ETFs are rebalanced every day and this results in a quite big time decay. XIV has a very high volatility of about 55% compared to only 25% for ZIV. Higher volatility means also bigger time decay losses. The 25% volatility of ZIV fits very well to the volatilities of our global market ETFs (MDY, FEZ, EEM, EPP, ILF). Rotation strategies work better, if the ETFs have more or less the same volatility. Rotation Strategy backtests - all to benefit from volatility premium If I backtest our Maximum Yield Rotation Strategy with XIV instead of ZIV, then I only get an annual performance of 31% with a volatility of 48% since 2011. With ZIV, I get 70% annual performance with only 27% volatility. This is a huge difference, which shows you, how important it is, that the ETFs [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |2 Comments

Strategies For Trading Inverse Volatility

Update: You can see the most recent performance our our inverse volatility strategy here. Consult vixcentral for the daily VIC term curve. In this paper, I present five different strategies you can use to trade inverse volatility. Why trade inverse volatility you ask? Because since 2011, trading inverse volatility was probably the most rewarding investment an investor could make in the markets. Annual returns of between 40% - 100% have been possible which crushes any other strategy I know. Smartly Trading inverse volatility In modern markets, the best way to protect capital would be to rotate out of falling assets, like we do in our rotation strategies. This is relatively easy, if you are invested only in a few ETFs, but it is much more difficult, if you are invested in a lot of different shares. In such a situation an easy way to protect capital is to hedge it, going long VIX Futures, VIX call options or VIX ETFs VXX. If 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. To hedge a portfolio by 100% an investor needs to buy VXX ETFs for about 20% of the portfolio value. The VXX ETF loses up to 10% of it's value per month, because of the VIX Futures contango, so this means that scared investors are willing to pay 1.5-2% of the portfolio value per month or around 25% per year for this insurance. Investing in inverse volatility means nothing more, than taking over the risk and collecting this insurance premium from worried investors and you can capitalize on this with a few simple strategies, which I will show you below. Something seems afoot. Why do investors pay 25% per year [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |50 Comments

Shorting Volatility: Comparison of ZIV replacements in MYRS

Here is a comparison of different ZIV replacement ETFs in the MYRS strategy, shorting volatility. Going long ZIV is the most simple way to execute the strategy. ZIV is in fact an inverse ETF, so even if ZIV does not have leverage, ZIV needs to be rebalanced daily. Rebalanced ETFs in general have losses. These losses become bigger with higher volatility.  Shorting Volatility the smart way On the chart below you can see the quite poor ZIV performance during the last 197 days. The effect is not so bad in the strategy, because during high volatile periods like now, you are only partly invested. So, the total rebalancing loss you will suffer during one year is probably only about 3% on the whole strategy. But nevertheless if you can short VXZ, then you should do it. The effect of a short position is the same. The difference of 3% between ZIV and VXZ shortingvolatility may not seem big at the first view, but such small differences can sum up and at the end of the year, this may be worth quite a nice christmas present. However if all this sounds much too complicated for you, then just go with the default strategy using ZIV. A way to use TVIZ would be, to always invest about the same amount in TVIZ and only change the EDV hedge, so that the final allocation is respected. A profit of 19% (after borrowing cost) only with rebalancing losses in less than a year is not bad at all. By the way, the poor performance of ZIV is due to a 65% higher volatility (VIX level) during these 197 days. So in fact ZIV did even a good job to achieve a zero performance. Once volatility goes back to normal levels, ZIV will profit a lot - the reason why [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |14 Comments