Options have many uses for portfolios and tend to get more attention in a challenging market and economic environments for their ability to generate income and hedge against risk and loss. Because of their complexity, they require a deep understanding of the mechanisms at work to best determine how and when to apply them to a portfolio where they can add several benefits.
The 4 Main Use Cases for Options
- Income generation: Options that offer income generation have been particularly popular in the volatile, challenging markets of the last year. They can generate an additional income stream for portfolios in a number of ways, including writing calls or covered calls.
- Hedging: Market volatility has become the norm of the last 14 months, and another popular use case for derivatives has been as a hedge against excessive loss. Puts and protective puts, depending on the strike price and how out-of-the-money that price is set, may mitigate a level of downside risk and volatility, an attractive quality as the U.S. faces a looming recession.
- Flexibility: When you invest in a stock, you inherently take a long position in it and only make money when that stock appreciates in price. Options give flexibility in that they allow investors to take long or short positions on a stock depending on if they believe it will rise or fall. This opens up the opportunity for the investor to make money should the stock price move in either direction.
- Leverage: Some investors utilize options to capture the performance of a stock without investing directly in the stock itself. Options tend to be cheaper than their stock counterparts. They can be appealing because they expose a stock’s performance for less than direct investment. Leveraging is arguably one of the more complex and difficult options strategies, however, and utilizing options in this manner should only be reserved for experienced options investors or funds utilizing options in leveraged strategies. Even then, caution is needed because while the potential for magnified gains exists, so too does the potential for magnified losses.
Benefits of Derivatives and Their Use in ETFs
Investing in options can provide several benefits to portfolios and are as varied as their use cases. They can be less risky than investing in equities during challenging market conditions, offering advisors and investors the potential to capture most of a stock’s performance for a percentage of the stock’s price. They also work around the clock and aren’t constrained by overnight declines that can lead to gap openings for securities like equities. Should volatility increase overnight, an investor with a put option in place would only realize losses to the price of their put compared to owning the stock outright and absorbing the full loss.
Investing in an ETF that utilizes options in its strategy can take a lot of the hassle of individual options trading for advisors out of the equation, reducing the legwork and some of the complications. It’s still vitally important to understand what’s under the hood of the fund and how it’s using options. Some ETFs utilize one type of option seeking a particular outcome, while others combine different options for their strategy. Understanding what each type of option is doing within the fund and how it is expected to perform in various market conditions is necessary to anticipate the fund’s performance as markets move.
ETFs are known for their liquidity and flexibility, and it’s no different for an ETF that utilizes options. Accessing derivatives through an ETF means you can pay a nominal fee to have a trained portfolio manager navigate the options market instead of going through a broker and navigating commission costs and options selection.
Options Investing with Nationwide
There is a range of ETF strategies that utilize options depending on the kind of exposure desired, with funds centered around income generation and risk mitigation/hedging having become more popular in the last year. The Nationwide suite of ETFs utilizes an options collar strategy that seeks to generate tax efficient income that entails holding shares of underlying security while simultaneously buying protective put options as well as writing calls for the same security. A put option gives its owner the right but not the obligation to sell the underlying asset at a specific price on a specific day for the life of the put. In contrast, a call option gives its owner the right but not the obligation to buy the asset instead.
The options collar is intended to reduce the fund’s volatility and provide a measure of downside protection while seeking to generate income.
The Nationwide S&P 500® Risk-Managed ETF (NSPI) is an actively managed fund that invests in a portfolio of securities included in the S&P 500® Index. The S&P 500® Index is weighted by market capitalization and comprises approximately 500 of the top U.S.-listed companies that make up the majority of the U.S. equity market cap (80%).
The Nationwide Dow Jones® Risk-Managed Income ETF (NDJI) is an actively managed fund that invests in a portfolio of securities included in the Dow Jones® Industrial Average. The Dow Jones® is weighted by price and comprises 30 well-established U.S. companies, referred to as blue-chip companies.
The Nationwide Russell 2000® Risk-Managed Income ETF (NTKI) is an actively managed fund that invests in a portfolio of securities included in the Russell 2000® Index. The Russell 2000® tracks approximately 2,000 U.S. small-cap companies.
The Nationwide Nasdaq-100® Risk-Managed Income ETF (NUSI) follows a rules-based options trading strategy that seeks to generate high current income every month and invests in stocks included in the Nasdaq-100® Index. The Nasdaq-100® Index consists of 100 of the largest non-finance securities that trade on the Nasdaq exchange and is a rules-based, market capitalization-weighted index.
These funds carry an expense ratio of 0.68%.
For more news, information, and analysis, visit our Retirement Income Channel.
This article was prepared as part of Nationwide’s paid sponsorship of ETF Trends.
ETFs, hedge funds, equities, bonds, and other asset classes have different risk profiles, which should be considered when investing. All investments contain risk and may lose value. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Shares of any ETF are bought and sold at market price (not NAV), may trade at a discount or premium to NAV and are not individually redeemed from the Fund. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns. The Fund’s return may not match or achieve a high degree of correlation with the return of the underlying index.
The Funds’ Prospectus may be accessed at: https://nationwidefunds.onlineprospectus.net/nationwidefunds/NUSI/index.html
Call 1-800-617-0004 to request a summary prospectus and/or a prospectus, or download prospectuses at etf.nationwidefinancial.com. These prospectuses outline investment objectives, risks, fees, charges and expenses, and other information that you should read and consider carefully before investing.
The results shown represent past performance; past performance does not guarantee future results. Current performance may be lower or higher than the past performance shown, which does not guarantee future results. Share price, principal value and return will vary, and you may have a gain or a loss when you sell your shares. Returns for periods less than one year are not annualized. Short-term performance, in particular, is not a good indication of the fund’s future performance, and an investment should not be made based solely on returns. To obtain the most recent month-end performance, go to etf.nationwidefinancial.com or call 1-877-893-1830.
Click this link for the funds’ Standardized performance and 30-day SEC yield.
KEY RISKS: The Nationwide Nasdaq-100® Risk-Managed Income ETF, Nationwide S&P 500® Risk-Managed Income ETF, Nationwide Dow Jones® Risk-Managed Income ETF, and Nationwide Russell 2000® Risk-Managed Income ETF (collectively, the “Risk-Managed Income ETFs”) are subject to the risks of investing in equity securities, including tracking stock (a class of common stock that “tracks” the performance of a unit or division within a larger company). A tracking stock’s value may decline even if the larger company’s stock increases in value. The Risk-Managed Income ETFs are subject to the risks of investing in foreign securities (currency fluctuations, political risks, differences in accounting and limited availability of information, all of which are magnified in emerging markets).
The Risk-Managed Income ETFs may invest in more-aggressive investments such as derivatives (which create investment leverage and illiquidity and are highly volatile). The Risk-Managed Income ETFs employ a collared options strategy (using call and put options is speculative and can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the reference asset). The success of the Risk-Managed Income ETFs’ investment strategy may depend on the effectiveness of the subadviser’s quantitative tools for screening securities and on data provided by third parties. The Risk-Managed Income ETFs expect to invest a portion of their assets to replicate the holdings of an index. Correlation between Fund performance and index performance may be affected by Fund expenses and because the Fund may not be invested fully in the securities of the index or may hold securities not included in the index.
The Risk-Managed Income ETFs frequently may buy and sell portfolio securities and other assets to rebalance its exposure to various market sectors. Higher portfolio turnover may result in higher levels of transaction costs paid by the Risk-Managed Income ETFs and greater tax liabilities for shareholders. The Risk-Managed Income ETFs may concentrate on specific sectors or industries, subjecting them to greater volatility than that of other ETFs. The Risk-Managed Income ETFs may hold large positions in a small number of securities, and an increase or decrease in the value of such securities may have a disproportionate impact on the Funds’ value and total return. Although the Risk-Managed Income ETFs intend to invest in a variety of securities and instruments, the Risk-Managed Income ETFs will be considered non-diversified.
Additional risks include: Collared options strategy risk, correlation risk, derivatives risk, foreign investment risk, and industry concentration risk.
The Fund expects to invest a portion of its assets to replicate the holdings of an index. Correlation between Fund performance and index performance may be affected by Fund expenses and because the Fund may not be invested fully in the securities of the index or may hold securities not included in the index. The Fund frequently may buy and sell portfolio securities and other assets to rebalance its exposure to various market sectors. Higher portfolio turnover may result in higher levels of transaction costs paid by the Fund and greater tax liabilities for shareholders. The Fund may concentrate on specific sectors or industries, subjecting it to greater volatility than that of other ETFs. The Fund may hold large positions in a small number of securities, and an increase or decrease in the value of such securities may have a disproportionate impact on the Fund’s value and total return. Although the Fund intends to invest in a variety of securities and instruments, the Fund will be considered nondiversified. Additional Fund risk includes: Collared options strategy risk, correlation risk, derivatives risk, foreign investment risk, and industry concentration risk.
Distribution Yield – The measurement of cash flow paid by an exchange-traded fund (ETF), real estate investment trust, or another type of income-paying vehicle. Rather than calculating the yield based on an aggregate of distributions, the most recent distribution is annualized and divided by the net asset value (NAV) of the security at the time of the payment.
Nasdaq-100® Index: A rules-based, market capitalization-weighted index of the 100 largest, most actively traded U.S. companies listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Index includes companies from various industries except for the financial industry, like commercial and investment banks. These non-financial sectors include retail, biotechnology, industrial, technology, health care, and others.
Nasdaq® and the Nasdaq-100® are registered trademarks of Nasdaq, Inc. (which with its affiliates is referred to as the “Corporations”) and are licensed for use by Nationwide Fund Advisors. The Nationwide Nasdaq-100® Risk-Managed Income ETF (“NUSI”) has not been passed on by the Corporations as to their legality or suitability. NUSI is not issued, endorsed, sold, or promoted by the Corporations. THE CORPORATIONS MAKE NO WARRANTIES AND BEAR NO LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THE PRODUCT.
S&P 500® Index: An unmanaged, market capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks of leading large-cap U.S. companies in leading industries; gives a broad look at the U.S. equities market and those companies’ stock price performance.
The S&P 500® index is a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC or its affiliates (“SPDJI”), and has been licensed for use by Nationwide Fund Advisors. Standard & Poor’s®, S&P®, and S&P 500® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”); Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (“Dow Jones”); and these trademarks have been licensed for use by SPDJI and sublicensed for certain purposes by Nationwide Fund Advisors. The Nationwide S&P 500® Risk-Managed Income ETF (“NSPI”) is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P, or their respective affiliates, and none of such parties make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product(s) nor do they have any liability for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of the S&P 500® Index.
Russell 2000® Index: An unmanaged index that measures the performance of the small-capitalization segment of the U.S. equity universe.
FTSE Russell (“Russell”) is the Index Provider for the Russell 2000® Index (“Russell 2000®” or the “Index”). Russell is not affiliated with the Fund, Nationwide Fund Advisors, the Distributor nor any of their respective affiliates. Nationwide Fund Advisors has entered into a license agreement with Russell to use the Russell 2000®.
The Nationwide Russell 2000® Risk-Managed Income ETF (“NTKI”) has been developed solely by Nationwide Fund Advisors. NTKI is not in any way connected to nor sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by the London Stock Exchange Group plc and its group undertakings (collectively, the “LSE Group”). FTSE Russell is a trading name of certain of the LSE Group companies. All rights in the Russell 2000® vest in the relevant LSE Group company which owns the Index. “Russell®” is a trademark of the relevant LSE Group company and is used by any other LSE Group company under license. The Index is calculated by or on behalf of FTSE International Limited or its affiliate, agent or partner. The LSE Group does not accept any liability whatsoever to any person arising out of (a) the use of reliance on or any error in the Index or (b) investment in or operation of NTKI. The LSE Group makes no claim, prediction, warranty nor representation either as to the results to be obtained from NTKI or the suitability of the Index for the purpose to which it is being put by Nationwide Fund Advisors.
Dow Jones Industrial Average®: A price-weighted index composed of 30 “blue-chip” U.S. stocks. The index covers all industries except transportation and utilities, respectively.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average® is a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC or its affiliates (“SPDJI”), and has been licensed for use by Nationwide Fund Advisors. Standard & Poor’s® and S&P® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”); Dow Jones®, Dow Jones Industrial Average®, DJIA® and The Dow® are registered trademarks of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (“Dow Jones”); and these trademarks have been licensed for use by SPDJI and sublicensed for certain purposes by Nationwide Fund Advisors. The Nationwide Dow Jones® Risk-Managed Income ETF (“NDJI”) is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P or their respective affiliates, and none of such parties make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product(s), nor do they have any liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions of the Dow Jones Industrial Average®.
Market index performance is provided by a third-party source Nationwide Funds Group deems to be reliable (Morningstar and U.S. Bank). Indexes are unmanaged and have been provided for comparison purposes only. No fees or expenses have been reflected. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index.
Nationwide Fund Advisors (NFA) is the registered investment advisor to Nationwide ETFs, which are distributed by Quasar Distributors LLC. NFA is not affiliated with any distributor, subadviser, or index provider contracted by NFA for the Nationwide ETFs.
Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2022 Nationwide.