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The VXX ETN and Volatility Exposure

PIABA Bar Journal, Volume 18, No. 2 (2011)

20 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2012 Last revised: 18 Jun 2012

Tim Husson

Securities and Exchange Commission

Craig J. McCann

Securities Litigation and Consulting Group

Date Written: July 15, 2011

Abstract

Exposure to the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has been available since 2004 in the form of futures and since 2006 in the form of options, but recently new exchange-traded products have offered retail investors an easier way to gain exposure to this popular measure of market sentiment. The most successful of these products so far has been Barclays‘s VXX ETN, which has grown to a market cap of just under $1.5 billion. However, the VXX ETN has lost more than 90% of its value since its introduction in 2009, compared to a decline of only 60% for the VIX index. This poor relative performance is because the VXX ETN tracks an index of VIX futures contracts that can incur negative roll yield. In this paper we review the VIX index and assess the opportunities and risks associated with investing in the VXX ETN.

Keywords: VXX, VIX, ETN, futures, roll yield, volatility

Suggested Citation

Husson, Tim and McCann, Craig J., The VXX ETN and Volatility Exposure (July 15, 2011). PIABA Bar Journal, Volume 18, No. 2 (2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1886429 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1886429

Tim Husson

Securities and Exchange Commission ( email )

100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC Washington, DC 20549
United States
202-551-6803 (Phone)

Craig McCann (Contact Author)

Securities Litigation and Consulting Group ( email )

3998 Fair Ridge Drive, Suite 250
Fairfax, VA 22033
United States

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