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Robo-advice firm launches ethical portfolios

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15/08/2018
Robo-advice firm Wealthify has launched a range of ethical portfolios, which enable customers to invest with as little as £1.

The firm joins the growing ranks of robo-advisers offering ethical investment options including Moola, PensionBee and Wealthsimple.

Wealthify’s portfolios span five risk levels – cautious, tentative, confident, ambitious and adventurous, reflecting its current proposition.

The portfolios consist of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds from providers such as Liontrust, Kames Capital, UBS and Vanguard.

They will negatively screen for ‘sin stocks’ such as weapons, gambling and tobacco, and positively screen for companies that demonstrate “excellent environmental, social and governance practices”.

The cost of the portfolios will be higher than Wealthify’s standard portfolios due to the inclusion of actively managed funds. The portfolios will cost from 1.12% a year including fund charges compared to 1% for their standard portfolios.

Strong demand

Michelle Pearce, CIO and co-founder of Wealthify, said: “We have listened to our customers and I’m delighted Wealthify is now able to offer ethical portfolios, starting from just £1. We want to democratise investing and give our customers the opportunity to invest in line with their principles.”

Recent research by independent financial advice site Boring Money found that 74% of investors are interested or potentially interested in ethical and socially responsible investing.

Younger investors reported more interest with over 55% of under 45s saying they were interested compared to 23% of over 55s.

Boring Money managing director, Holly Mackay, said: “When we ask consumers about ethical investing we definitely note growing interest.

“We anticipate this will become a mainstream product offering over the course of the next 12 months. A key challenge for providers will be communicating all the nuances of the various flavours of ethical-type portfolios to people in a clear, accessible way.”

What is a robo-adviser?

Robo advisers are online investment firms that enable people to invest for a relatively cheap fee with the help of technology. They offer some risk-profiling, and guide people into risk-managed portfolios appropriate for their age, lifestyle and level of wealth. You don’t get full blown financial advice, so take the name with a pinch of salt. Most use passive funds, which help keep costs down. 

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