Volatility has the potential to disrupt any portfolio. Volatility can remain low for a prolonged period, but has increased this year unnerving investors. The chart on this page looks at the VIX Index for the U.S. S&P 500 index and illustrates whether investors are buying protection against a pickup in market volatility. The shaded areas are U.S. recessions. We can see that outside of recession, near term volatility spikes are short-lived.