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UBS's Yield Enhancement Strategy ("YES") Returns - and then the Losses - Were Caused by Equity Market Exposure

UBS marketed YES as market-neutral based on a combination of four options is sometimes referred to as an "Iron Condor". UBS accounts subjected to YES treatment suffered losses of 12% to 14% in December 2018 when the S&P 500 dropped 9.2% because the overlay was more than 100%.

In this paper the authors we explain the option basics necessary to understand the YES strategy and illustrate how UBS actually implemented the strategy with predictably disastrous results. They also present how UBS...

YES Strategies: Know to say no

In recent years, low yields in the bond market and low volatility in the equity markets have combined to give brokerage firms the excuse to develop and sell "Yield Enhancement Strategies (YES)" to retail investors. These strategies almost always consist of selling options on the S&P 500. The sale of an option garners a premium but places the seller (the retail investor) in a short option position. Being short on a call or put option is a risky place to be. In the best-case scenario, the...

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