The VIX, or the “fear index” as it’s often known, can make for attention-grabbing news, but many investors don’t know what it really means.
The idea of a volatility index started decades ago, and real-time data has been provided by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) since 1993 in the form of the VIX. It wasn’t until 2004 that the CBOE provided a way to trade the VIX with the introduction of futures. VIX options followed in 2006. After the financial crash in 2008, firms created ETFs tracking the fear index, making VIX-watching a more popular pastime for everyday investors.