VIX is an abbreviation for volatility index, which is a popular form of volatility-based index that reflects the expected US stock market price variations. Many traders and investors will use this as a benchmark to measure the risks in the financial markets. Because of its popularity and prevalence, many exchanges and trading platforms offer VIX options.

If you plan to use VIX as a benchmark to measure market volatility against, it's important to be aware that past performance doesn't guarantee future results. ETFs are often used by traders looking for short-term opportunities due to their liquidity, tradability and a high degree of price transparency, making them highly susceptible to market manipulation. 

Although regulated stock exchanges have internal regulations in place to prevent these practices, they can still occur within other trading platforms which are unregulated. It could make VIX figures misleading, especially when conducting long term trades or investments. Since there is no central exchange for VIX prices, it can be challenging to determine where an index is concerning its historical levels.

What is a VIX in ETF trading?

The VIX is an exciting concept developed by Robert E Whaley to measure investor fear and greed in the markets. It uses S&P500 index option prices to calculate implied or expected future volatility. The results are then published as an index that fluctuates from 0 to 100. Generally, the higher the VIX, the more fear is present in the market. In other words, when investors are fearful of losing money on their investments, they demand higher premiums for that risk or uncertainty.

Understanding what a VIX is when trading ETFs in the UK can be complicated. Some of the different ways that people define volatility and how it affects traders trying to make money on the stock market include:

  • The degree of variation (statistical dispersion) of returns over time;
  • A measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index 
  • It implies that high volatility stocks will generate higher than average rates of return.

In trading, understanding what a VIX is within ETFs can often help determine whether an activity will result in gains or losses. For example, A trader may hold a position over several months and sell it before it reaches its expiry date. If there has been a dramatic increase in volatility during this time, the holder could have lost out on some gains due to needing to close out early at a lower price than expected because of increased volatility, according to how the VIX is calculated.

Risks of using a VIX in ETFs

Although VIX offers valuable insights into historical volatility, there are some limitations when using them to trade ETFs in the UK. It is mainly because it measures fluctuations in prices, especially concerning ETFs. Although they allow for greater flexibility than mutual funds, they can also be more complicated than their traditional counterparts, so it's important to explain what you own before selling or buying. 

Whenever you invest in ETFs, it's recommended that you outline your plans first, so a lack of knowledge or understanding doesn't compromise future profits. Use VIX as a benchmark but remember that past results don't necessarily mean future returns, and always do your due diligence before entering any transactions to avoid unnecessary risks.


Using a simple formula to determine the volatility for an ETF (or index) makes it possible to calculate expected returns and estimate risk. It can help investors make more informed decisions when trading ETFs in the UK. Beginner traders should use a reputable online broker from Saxo, trade on a demo account, and practise different trading strategies before investing real money. Not only do they offer the lowest commission, but they also offer excellent customer service. Start your investment journey today. 


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