Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Volatility Products

There a lot of new volatility products which I want to review.

One of my favorite one is XIV. Bill Luby has a good discussion going on Vix and More.

The biggest risks for the XIV is a catastrophic event which creates a spike in VIX futures. In August 2011 we had several days when VIX jumped 20-50% and VXX moved up 15-20%. So XIV lost 15-20% in those days.

During the past 2 months XIV was a terrible investment (it lost 66% from the peak). Is this normal? Where there other time periods when this would have happened?
I went back and tried to recreate XIV using Juan Ramon Velasco Barros' VXX data since 2004 from his website.

I came up with a few conclusions:
- in August the VIX had a record jump of 103% in a week (unprecedented in the past 20 years)
- the worst drawdown of more than 80% in XIV would have been during 2007-2008, but it wasn't in one day
- in the 2 months after Lehman went under the XIV would have lost 75%
- the worst one day move was -20%

The chance of a 100% loss in a day seems very small, but the drawdown during a few weeks/months could be significant (70-80%).

So why would anybody invest in something like this? I will write about the upside of XIV next time.


  1. Welcome back Robert, glad to see you're posting again and sharing your knowledge.

  2. He recreated it, you might be interested in this to see how the XIV behaved in the past: