SteadyOptions is an options trading forum where you can find solutions from top options traders. TRY IT FREE!

We’ve all been there… researching options strategies and unable to find the answers we’re looking for. SteadyOptions has your solution.

Revisiting Anchor Part 2


Last month we posted some updates to the Anchor strategy that were obtained using an in-depth back testing of the strategy and variations of it using the ORATS Wheel software.  We adopted three conclusions last month:

  1. Selling calls for a credit to help offset the cost of the hedge is, more often than not, a losing strategy over time in the Anchor strategy.  It tends to hurt performance more than help it;
  2. About a month is the ideal period for selling short puts over both in bull and bear markets.  This tends to be the ideal trade off between decay, being able to hold through minor price fluctuations, and available extrinsic value.  Since options come out weekly, we’ll be using a 28-day period;
  3. Rolling on a set day like Friday is not the most efficient method of rolling the short puts.  Rather having a profit target of between 35% to 50%, and rolling when that target is hit, leads to vastly improved outcomes.  Waiting until profits get above 50% tends to start negatively impacting the trade on average.

 

This month we’re going to look at another technique which has the possibility of increasing Anchor’s performance over time – namely reducing the hedge.

Reducing the Hedge

The single biggest cost to Anchor is the hedge.  Depending on when the hedge is purchased, it can cost anywhere from 5% to 15% of the value of the entire portfolio.  In large bull markets, which result in having to roll the hedge up several times in a year, we have seen this cost eat a substantial part of the gains in the underlying stocks and/or ETFs. 

 

There is also the issue of not being “fully” invested and this resulting in lagging the market.  If the cost of the hedge is 8%, then we are only 92% long.  In other words if our ETFs go up 100 points, our portfolio would only go up 92 points.

 

A large hedge cost also has a negative impact at the start of a bear market as well due to the losses on the short puts.  If the market drops a mild amount, particularly soon after purchasing the hedge, the losses on the short puts will exceed the gains on the long puts, negatively impacting performance.  This loss is less noticeable as the long hedge gets nearer to expiration and/or market losses increase as delta of the long hedge and the short puts both end up about the same.  However, as was seen a few years ago, if the market drops slightly, then rebounds, those losses on the short puts are realized and any gains on the long puts are lost when the market rebounds.

 

If there was a way to reduce the cost of the hedge, without dramatically increasing risk, the entire strategy would benefit.  A possible solution comes from slightly “under hedging.”  Testing over the periods from 2012 to the present and from 2007 to the present has revealed if we only hedged 95% of the portfolio, returns would be significantly improved.

 

Let’s take a look at the data from the close of market on September 14, 2018, when SPY was at 290.88.  If we were to enter the hedge, we would have bought the September 20, 2019 290 Puts for $14.96.  If we have a theoretical $90,000 portfolio, it would take 3.1 puts to hedge (we can’t have 3.1puts so we’ll round down to 3).  At that price, three puts would cost $4,488 or 5% of the portfolio (almost historically low). 

 

However, if we were to say “I am not upset if I lose five percent of my portfolio value due to market movements; I am just really worried about large losses,” we could buy the 275 puts instead of the 290.  The 275 puts are trading at $10.61 – a discount of thirty percent. 

 

This means we need less short puts to pay for the position, paying for the position is a simpler process, and rolling up in a large bull market is cheaper.

 

Yes it comes at a cost – risking the first five percent – but given the stock markets trend positive over time, this pays off in spades over longer investment horizons.  Even if you are near retirement, any planning you do should not be largely impacted by a five percent loss, but the gains which can come from (a) having a larger portion of your portfolio invested in long positions instead of the hedge (meaning less lag in market gains), (b) having less risk on the short puts in minor market fluctuations, and (c) paying for the hedge in full more frequently more than offset that over time.

 

We will implement this in the official Anchor portfolios by simply delaying a roll up from gains.  The official portfolio is in the January 19, 2019 280 puts.  We’d normally roll around a 7% or 10% gain (or around SPY 300), instead we’ll just hold until we get to our five percent margin.  OR when we roll the long puts around the start of December, we’ll then roll out and down to hit our target.

 

Note – if you do want to continue to be “fully” hedged, you can do so.  There’s nothing wrong with this, you just sacrifice significant upside potential and will be continuing to perform as Anchor has recently.  If we had implemented this change in 2012, Anchor’s performance would have been more than five percent per year higher.  This is not an insignificant difference. 

Related articles:

 

What Is SteadyOptions?

Full Trading Plan

Complete Portfolio Approach

Diversified Options Strategies

Exclusive Community Forum

Steady And Consistent Gains

High Quality Education

Risk Management, Portfolio Size

Performance based on real fills

Try It Free

Non-directional Options Strategies

10-15 trade Ideas Per Month

Targets 5-7% Monthly Net Return

Visit our Education Center

Recent Articles

Articles

  • Put/Call Parity - Two Definitions

    Put/call parity is a term options traders use to mean one of two things. The simplest definition and the one most applicable to most options traders compares the similarity in the bid/ask spread and the net debit or credit resulting from this.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 175 views
  • Put Selling: Strike Selection Considerations

    When selling puts, such as we do in our Steady Momentum PutWrite strategy, there are many questions a trader must answer: What expiration should I use? What strike should I sell? Should I choose that strike based on delta or percentage out of the money?

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 222 views
  • What Can We Learn From UBS YES Lawsuit?

    News followers may have seen the recent stories on UBS being sued by its clients and investors who participated in UBS’s “Yield Enhancement Strategy (YES).”  Evidently, numerous UBS clients signed up to participate in an iron condor strategy that lost a lot of money.They’re angry, and they’re filing a lawsuit.

    By cwelsh,

    • 2 comments
    • 826 views
  • Pinning Down the ‘Option Pinning’

    What many people on SO have in common is that they have read the books of Jeff Augen on options trading. Although written a decade ago they continue to be an interesting source of strategies for the retail investor. Retail investors have particular constraints that make most of the broad theoretical musings on options rather moot.

    By TrustyJules,

    • 0 comments
    • 338 views
  • Holding Positions into Expiration

    "Every once in a while you must go to cash, take a break, take a vacation. Don't try to play the market all the time. It can't be done, too tough on the emotions." - Jesse Livermore

    By Mark Wolfinger,

    • 0 comments
    • 268 views
  • Tales Of How Big Trades Went Wrong

    One way to learn from your past mistakes is having to go through the painful and challenging experience of explaining them. Another way is to listen to others who might have lived through some disgruntling trades. Joseph Trevisani goes deep into the rationale he followed during the volatile EUR/JPY days of 2007 in this article.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 273 views
  • Covered Straddle Explained

    The covered straddle is a perfect strategy for those all too common sideways-moving trends. When a company’s stock is in consolidation, how can you make trades? No directional trend exists, so most traders simply wait out this period.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 421 views
  • Why Doesn't Anchor Roll The Long Calls?

    Recently, an Anchor subscriber asked, “Why don’t we roll the long calls in the Leveraged Anchor portfolio after a large gain and take cash off the table?”  This question has a multi-part answer, from taxation to how the delta on a position works.

    By cwelsh,

    • 0 comments
    • 253 views
  • Backtesting Pre Earnings Straddles Using CML TradeMachine

    Our members know that buying pre earnings straddles is one of our most consistent and profitable strategies. Yet some options "gurus" continue conducting studies, trying to prove that the strategy doesn't work. Today we will show how to do the backtesting properly, using the CML TradeMachine, the best backtester in the industry.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 746 views
  • Building a Short Strangles Portfolio

    In my last article I showed you what you can expect selling short strangles and straddles and how much leverage is appropriate. Today I want to show you how to build a well diversified short strangle/straddle portfolio and how to trade it through difficult times.

    By Stephan Haller,

    • 7 comments
    • 644 views

  Report Article

We want to hear from you!


Regarding the management of the short put Reel Ken favors going one week out while "holding the strike" in this recent article: 

 

What´s your opinion on this? Obviously theta is higher while having the same benefit in riding smaller pullbacks. At first glance this approach may work better than going 28-days out at first place.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

That doesn't work as well.  We've back tested it, thoroughly.  Using every weekly holding from one week to three months, rolling up, keeping the same (e.g. rolling out to same strike as current) or rolling down.  

 

We used Orats and tested two periods 2007 through the present (as far back as the data goes) and 2012 to the present (from the advent of weeklies to the present). To verify our results we had multiple starting dates (Jan 1, Feb 1, June 1).  We then wanted to make sure it wasn't local to SPY, so tested IWM as well and got the same results.

 

When I originally started Anchor, we started with 1 week puts - it doesn't work as well, whether it rolling down or keeping the same strike.  In down markets you get just CRUSHED and rolling out to the same strike eventually becomes infeasible.  (E.g. if the market dropped 10%, you can't roll to the same strike, you'd only get .01).

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not surprising that a reduced hedge would have improved performance in the period since 2012, as this was a bull market. Have you backtested the results to include the 2008 bear?

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ykotowitz said:

It is not surprising that a reduced hedge would have improved performance in the period since 2012, as this was a bull market. Have you backtested the results to include the 2008 bear?

Yes, starting in 2007.  What was interesting, other than if you ONLY had this from mid-2008 through mid-2009, reducing the hedge was always better.  So unless you just have a very short term time frame, or we enter a very extended bear market (which could occur), a 5% reduction is typically worth it.  Though that can vary depending on risk preferences.  

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's easy and free!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

Options Trading Blogs