In a world of rock-bottom interest rates and piddly dividend yields, the Nationwide Risk-Managed Income ETF (NUSI) stands out as a friend to income investors.
NUSI can act as a complement to traditional equity and fixed income allocations or as the ideal protective hedge for investors with heavy exposure to technology and growth stocks because the fund is a “rules-based options trading strategy that seeks to produce high income using the Nasdaq-100 Index,” according to Nationwide.
NUSI’s covered call foundation is important to today’s low-yield climate.
Covered call strategies such as NUSI can augment a portfolio during periods of heightened volatility. The options allow an investor to hold a long position in an asset while simultaneously writing, or selling, call options on the same asset.
Breaking Down NUSI's Process
The Nationwide Risk-Managed Income ETF uses an options trading strategy called a protective net-credit collar to generate income. The options strategy sells an upside call option and uses a portion of the proceeds received to buy a put option to hedge downside risk on an underlying portfolio of securities.
NUSI is an actively managed portfolio of stocks included in the Nasdaq-100 Index and an options collar. Per index rules, the fund only invests in the top 100 largest (by market cap) nonfinancial stocks listed on NASDAQ. A collar strategy involves selling or writing call options and buying put options, thus generating income to hedge some downside risk. The strategy seeks to generate high current income monthly from any dividends received from the underlying stock and the option premiums retained.
A covered call refers to an options strategy where an investor writes or sells a call option on an asset which they already own or bought on a share-for-share basis to generate income via premiums derived from the sale of the call options. However, the covered call strategy caps upside potential and provides limited downside protection, so it is ideal for investors with a neutral-to-bullish outlook.
NUSI follows a three-step strategy. First, it fully replicates the constituents of the Nasdaq-100 Index. Secondly, the ETF deploys a rules-based options collar strategy that combines a covered call and a protective put. For the covered call component, a near-at-the-money to out-of-the-money Nasdaq-100 Index call option is sold, with the intent of generating options premium. For the protective put component, the strategy uses a portion of the options premium received to purchase an out-of-the-money Nasdaq-100 Index put option, which seeks to fully hedge the portfolio below the current market price and protect against potential losses in the equity portfolio.
Finally, a monthly distribution is paid out using a portion of the net-credit generated by the collar. If there is remaining options premium, the ETF will reinvest in the underlying stocks for potential upside participation.
For more on income strategies, visit our Retirement Income Channel.