When the VIX spiked suddenly earlier this year, there was carnage among a few ETFs that were betting against volatility. That created confusion among the array of products that reference the word “volatility” in their name or marketing. Indeed, not all ETFs with volatility in the name are equal. VictoryShares maintains that investors can benefit from understanding that investing in volatility and volatility-weighting are not remotely similar.
“You hear people talking about products that are long-vol, short-vol, low-vol, minimum-vol and volatility-weighted,” said Mannik Dhillon, President of VictoryShares. “They all use the same word, but ‘volatility’ has vast meaning and can be measured and used in different ways.”
Dhillon highlighted that the products that ran into issues during February were actually trying to give people exposure to volatility as measured by the VIX, or more specifically, short exposure.
“But not all ETFs that mention volatility are buying or selling it,” he says. “There are low-vol and minimum-vol ETFs, which use volatility to describe the risk profile of the index or portfolio,” he said. “VictoryShares, on the other hand VictoryShares uses volatility in a different way, to weight securities with the intended outcome being diversification.”
Related – Volatility: A Rose By Any Other Name
As market swings grow more volatile, investors may look to smart beta ETFs that help reduce the negative effects of severe market oscillations.