ProShares Reduces Leverage on Two Volatility ETFs

ProShares, the largest issuer of inverse and leveraged ETFs, has reduced leverage for two of its volatility ETFs – an attempt to keep the products alive.

The ETFs in question are the ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (NYSEArca: SVXY) and the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (UVXY).

Previously, SVXY provided short exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index, which measures the returns of a portfolio of monthly VIX futures contracts with a weighted average of one month to expiration, according to ProShares.

The fund’s value dropped nearly 90 percent this month as volatility exploded – buying the SVXY was a bet that volatility would go down.

As Bob Pisani explained on CNBC, SVXY was based on a simple concept: It would react in the opposite direction of volatility. So, if volatility (based on a basket of VIX futures) went down 10 percent, the fund was designed to gain 10 percent. But the opposite would also hold true: If volatility rose 10 percent, the fund would drop 10 percent.