TVIX Reverse Split Number 5—March 16th, 2017


Updated: Mar 12th, 2017 | Vance Harwood | @6_Figure_Invest

TVIX10-1

Credit Suisse has announced that TVIX’s fifth reverse split will be March 16th, 2017 with a 10:1 reverse split.   Rather than put TVIX’s price into parity with their primary competition, ProShares’ UVXY, this stock split puts TVIX at roughly twice UVXY’s price.

This split will reduce transaction costs by making the bid /ask spread as a percentage of the price smaller (when TVIX is trading around $4 the one cent minimum spread TVIX’s bid / ask spread is effectively a 0.25% transaction charge).  It will also likely make TVIX easier to short—a popular activity with any long volatility fund.  For information about shorting long volatility funds see “Is Shorting TVIX the Perfect Trade.”

Lacking major volatility spikes the 2X leveraged short term volatility ETPs like VelocityShares’ TVIX and ProShares’ UVXY need to reverse split at least every year to keep their products in a reasonable trading range.   Without market panics these 2X long funds tend to be ravaged by contango at the rate of around 90% per year.   In the past Credit Suisse has allowed TVIX to drop below $1 before implementing reverse splits, but now that threshold has been raised to around $5 / share.

After a period of reduced erosion in 2014 and 2015 TVIX’s decay rate has returned to the 90%+ per year range.   The post “Monthy & Yearly Decay Rates for Long Volatility Funds” shows how decay rates have shifted over time. 

Event Dates Split Ratio Inception / close price right before reverse split (split adjusted)  Months since inception /last split
Inception 29-Nov-2010 100 (2,500,0000)
1st Rev. Split 21-Dec-2012 10:1 0.9 24
2nd Rev. Split 30-Aug-2013 10:1 1.68 9
3rd Rev. Split 23-June-2015 10:1  0.75 22
 4th Rev. Split 9-August-2016 25:1  0.92  14
 5th Rev. Split 16-March-2017 10:1  ~4  8


If you hold shares of TVIX before a reverse split there isn’t anything to worry about.  The value of your investment stays the same through the reverse split process.  You just have 10X fewer shares that are worth 10X more each.   If your share holdings are not a multiple of 10, say 43 shares, you will get 4 reverse adjusted shares and a cash payout for the 3 remaining pre-split shares.

If you are short TVIX, same story, no material impact.

For more on TVIX see:

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Sunday, March 12th, 2017 | Vance Harwood
  • ShortVol

    Holding a short TVIX position into the reverse split should be fine too right?

  • Yes, a short position will be fine too. One small detail, if the number of shares you are short is not evenly divisible by 10, then you will be required to pay the cash value of the remainder number of shares. For example if you are short 1009 shares then you are responsible for paying the value of the 9 shares based on the effective TVIX value (not reverse split) on September 5th. Worst case total cost in the $20 to $30 range.

    — Vance

  • ShortVol

    Awesome, thanks Vance!

  • gomer

    how do I short tvix

  • Hi Gomer,
    Check out this post: http://sixfigureinvesting.com/2010/11/how-to-short-vxx/ most of the information on VXX related to TVIX too. Be aware the TVIX can move strongly up during volatility spikes. It’s important to have an exit / hedge strategy.

    — Vance

  • Takiwa

    Look into XIV

  • zackery bluball

    ya right….. i had 1500 shares of TVIX last year and was holding them because i KNEW the markets would go down…. well guess what they reverse split !!!!! then the markets went DOWN, do NOT tell us that now my 150 shares was EQUAL to the 1500 i had…. its a CONN they use the split to stay off the pink sheets is what i hear, they need to be above $ 1 ? or was it $5 ? otherwise they become a penny stock, all the PROFIT i would have made from the STOLEN 1350 shares became CREDIT SUISSE’S profits.

    like right NOW today i want to buy again BUT will they reverse split again ?? yes they WILL…. and i GUARANTEE you it will not be in september like it says above, with my luck it would happen tonight if i buy now.

  • zackery bluball

    how can you try and tell us that when tvix splits say like me i had 1,500 shares…. it became 150… ok the ” dollar value ” stayed the same BUT any profit from the index going UP is VERY LIMITED because now i ONLY own 150 shares not the 1500 i HAD.. and when they split , the price ( like last split ) what quadrupled over night ?, ( keeping them out of penny stock land ). all these reverse split do is steal from US investors and give to CREDIT SUISSE.

  • Hi Zackery, I agree that Credit Suisse does these reverse splits to preserve the credibility of TVIX, but I disagree that it limits the owners profit to the benefit of Credit Suisse.

    Consider a 20% spike in value. If TVIX is at $1, with 1500 shares and goes up 20% to $1.2 you have a $300 profit. After the 10:1 reverse split you have 150 shares at $10. If you have a 20% spike at that point then the price goes to $12, and the profit is $300. The same profit.

    Vance

  • Armando Phillips

    They need to get a reverse split to get the price well above $5 for those who want to sell short.

  • Antony
  • Kenneth Gardner

    “You just have 25X fewer shares that are worth 25X more each.” You need to reverse this statement and correct the article. Good article, though.

  • HI Kenneth, Sorry, my statement still looks correct to me. If you had 25 shares before you now have one, and it would be worth 25x more. How would you rephrase the sentence specifically?

    Vance

  • mate

    A split by definition gives you more shares that are worth less each.

  • TVIX is doing a a reverse split. You get fewer shares that are worth more.

  • d21clt

    I think zachery’s point is it’s probably more likely for a $1 share of TVIX to return to $10 price (and then go even higher) during a market crash than a $25 share of TVIX to go to $250 (and then go even higher) during a market crash. Percentage-wise yes it’s the same. Nominal dollar figure profit potential doesn’t seem the same, however.

  • 50docmtc

    I just happened to stop in here for a look. (I hold TVIX.) Judging by the comments, I’d have to say it’s frightening to think that so many of these folks do not understand the difference between a split and a reverse split… and they are playing volatile, leveraged holdings. My word – lions and tigers and bears!

  • Buddha Pest

    Most sickening thing about it is that after 4 reverse splits and an unprecedented 25 for one split some moron can decide it’s time to short and the do nothing government will ensure he is reproducing. So much for natural selection.

  • Kenneth Gardner

    My bad, you are correct.

  • RC

    Question for Vance. I was long on TVIX at $4 and it went to .92 before the reverse split. Shares now went to $100 price. Before there was hope it could go back to 4, but I don’t see any chance it could up to 100 from 23. I know how TVIX works downward, but this reverse split makes it much more expensive as shares are 25x more to close gap. What are your thoughts?

  • In my opinion the odds of .92 to 4 or 23 to 100 are the same. It’s the same percentage amount and the data is consistent that typical percentage moves are not impacted by absolute prices in the price ranges we’re dealing with (e.g., $0.5 to $200). Just to get back to even you would need at least a 2011 style correction.

  • 50docmtc

    Vance, are you saying about a 20% drop in the S&P? Like, say, April to August, 2011? Just curious.. what do you think the odds are??

  • Yes, I was thinking of a correction of around 20%. We don’t have a lot of data, but a 20% correction would likely give around a 4X bump to the 2X leveraged short vol funds. As far as odds of that happening–it seems like a drop of that magnitude needs some sort of macro-economic driver. In 2011 it was various European debt issues plus downgrading of USA credit rating. I don’t see anything of that magnitude floating around right now–but things can change in a hurry.

  • 50docmtc

    Yea, Vance. Any sort of exogenous (Brexit machinations?) or, endogenous (President Clinton II? President Trump??) could blow things wide open. Such is this game of money.

  • Hank Hill

    Vance, You should really look into this.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth

    Forth has a completely different meaning.

    Now you know.

  • Thanks Hank for pointing out my typo. Fixed.

  • James

    Question: how long can TVIX be reasonably held in a position? I’m trying to get an understanding of what timeframes are actually OK and am having real trouble hunting an informed answer down.

  • Hi James, Perhaps this post: https://sixfigureinvesting.com/2016/06/monthly-yearly-decay-rates-contago-losses-vxx-uvxy-vxx-vixy/ would be helpful. It shows historical decay rates.

    Best Regards,

    Vance

  • John J

    any idea about next split or revese split and when?

  • Hi John, Things have been rough on the long funds recently. I’d guess around April 2017 for reverse splits for TVIX and UVXY. That assumes an average decay rate of around 12% per month.

  • Reckster

    The last reverse split was Aug 11, 2016, reverse splits have been at least 9 to 14 months apart.

  • Hi Haruhi,
    Don’t know. Reverse splits tend to stress broker’s software systems, sometimes they don’t handle them correctly. It’s also possible that the cash payout for partial shares might disrupt things.

    Best Regards, Vance

  • Ollie

    I bought 500 TVIX originally. After last two reversed splits I have two shares remaining. When they reverse split next time they will pay me what the two remaining TVIX are worth that day meaning they are getting the future gains when markets tank and VIX (TVIX) skyrockets. Just look at the chart for last five to ten years.
    This means I have no chance to decide when I want to sell. Is this legal with so many reversal splits in such a short time period? This means they can buy your shares at the present low price and you have no way to keep your shares unless you buy some more?

  • Hi Ollie, In this case the charts are deceptive. They are adjusted for reverse splits and as a result they show prices that they never traded at. This chart for VXX https://sixfigureinvesting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/VXX-non-split.jpg shows VXX with the values it traded at. Much different chart than the reverse split adjusted ones. Sadly the best you can hope for TVIX is a 10X to 20X portfolio gain–on your horribly eroded investment–and that only if we have another 2008/09 style bear market–which will not be enough for you to recovery much of your original investment, much less have a profit. These 2X leveraged volatility funds drop 80% to 90% a year unless there is a big correction or bear market. They are like stock options, which fade away to zero. If you aren’t right in the short term you can’t make a profit or even recover your original investment.
    These companies don’t benefit when the prices of their shares go up or down. The way ETFs are constructed they make money off fees, not from the prices of the shares.

  • Ollie

    Yeah, sure. I know that split adjusted charts show prices that were never actually traded at. But surely they show that at the moment we are in the low end of the chart. And when, not if, the markets tank volatility is going to be skyhigh resulting TVIX price to rise dramatically.
    Now, when they make these reversed splits very aggressively I have no chance to decide when I want to sell my shares. This cant be a fair way to treat people who have invested in these shares.
    The good thing is that my investment to these shares were minimal but I had planned to keep them until the next severe bear market, but that decision seems to be taken away from me.
    Can you tell me what is the logic behind such an aggressive policy regarding reverse splits? It is not in the interest of shareholders.

  • The reason for the reverse splitting is to keep the shares in normal ranges and to keep the bid/ask spread which has to be at least one cent from becoming too big a factor. Below $5 shares get harder to short and below $1 people question the legitimacy of the offering. TVIX and UVXY have had so much decay since inception their price would be lmuch less than a cent now without reverse splits–not exactly practical.

  • Ollie

    Ok, but now the price being over $40 there should not be a need for further reverse splits.

  • The decay rate (unless there is a major correction or bear market) is around 90% a year, so unless one of those happens TVIX will probably be below $5 in around 9 to 12 months, and likely to have another 10:1 reverse split.