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, when measuring performance, is the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time. Total return accounts for two categories of return: income including interest paid by fixed-income investments, distributions or dividends and capital appreciation, representing the change in the market price of an asset.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (126.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 251.7% of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is higher, thus better.
- During the last 3 years, the total return, or performance is 125.4%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 79.2% from the benchmark.

'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:- The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 28.6%, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (17.8%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is 31.2%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 21.5% from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The 30 days standard deviation over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 26.4%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (18.8%) in the same period.
- Looking at historical 30 days volatility in of 30.8% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (22.2%).

'Downside risk is the financial risk associated with losses. That is, it is the risk of the actual return being below the expected return, or the uncertainty about the magnitude of that difference. 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the downside deviation of 19% in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.6%)
- During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 22.3%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 16.1% from the benchmark.

'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 risk / return profile (Sharpe) over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 0.99, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.82) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 0.93, which is higher, thus better than the value of 0.86 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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (1.12) in the period of the last 5 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.38 of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is larger, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (1.18) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 1.29 is larger, thus better.

'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:- The Ulcer Ratio over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage is 14 , which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (5.59 ) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (6.15 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Downside risk index of 16 is higher, thus worse.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the maximum drop from peak to valley of -40.7 days in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days)
- During the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown is -40.7 days, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of -33.7 days from the benchmark.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the maximum days below previous high of 317 days 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 (139 days)
- Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 317 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (119 days).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the average days under water of 85 days in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy 3x Leverage, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (32 days)
- Compared with SPY (22 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days under water of 87 days is higher, thus worse.

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.