Options and Alternatives

Portfolio Managers will use option strategies in various circumstances to create income or as a hedge. Selling covered calls and puts to generate income with known results is a common strategy at UASI. We employ different combinations of calls and puts to maximize returns and minimize risk.

Covered Calls

By writing covered calls, United is able to generate income in the form of an option premium received. This effectively reduces the risk of a long stock position when its price is falling, as the premium will offset some or all of the loss. Covered call writing also allows us to increase returns (think of the premiums as income) during intervals when the market is flat. During a bull market, the option may be exercised and the stock called away. While some upside is negated, the position is still sold at the set higher price, and the option premium received adds to any gain.

Put Writing

United will sell a put option on a stock we or you are willing to purchase but at a price lower than the present valuation. By selling a put, we agree to buy the shares at a discount to the current cost. For taking on this obligation, our clients receive cash in the form of an option premium. A stagnant or rising price is not a concern, as we would not have bought the stock in the first place due to its rich valuation, allowing our clients to keep the premium.

Long Straddle

A long straddle is an option strategy in which, during a period of market volatility, both a call and a put are purchased at the same strike price and expiration. By identifying opportunities in a volatile market, we can employ the long straddle to profit on a movement in either direction. With only a put, should the market go up, there is a loss, and with a call, should the market go down, there is a loss; but with a long straddle, you are prepared for any movement. When executed, the benefits of one outweigh the cost of the other.

Protective Put

The protective put is essentially insurance on an investment. If a protective put is in place and the market goes up, you can move with the market and profit from gains. However, if the market takes a sudden drop, the protective put ensures you maintain some profitability by keeping a minimum sell price. Should you want to keep the shares in a company, you can also sell your put, which increases in value when the market drops, offsetting some of the loss of the share’s value.


A collar is combining a protective put and a covered call at the start of an investment to hedge against market volatility. This creates a bracket, setting a maximum and minimum exiting price for your investment. The profit from the call feeds into the put, making sure your money is protected.