Robo-adviser launches ethical portfolios

Robo-adviser launches ethical portfolios

Robo-adviser Wealthify has become one of the first online investment platforms to offer ethical portfolios.

The company is offering five ethical portfolios which will span risk levels from cautious to adventurous, like Wealthify's existing proposition.

At the moment Moola and Wealthsimple are the only robo-advisers which offer ethical portfolios, though PensionBee, an online pension provider, also offers them.

Wealthify’s five ethical portfolios use active funds from providers such as Edentree, Liontrust, Royal London, iShares, and Vanguard.

Michelle Pearce, chief investment officer and co-founder of Wealthify, said the proposition was being launched following demand from the company's customers.

She said: "Our decision to use actively-managed ethical funds reflects a desire to provide customers with the most ethically-robust investment plans possible.

"The layers of additional qualitative monitoring carried out by the fund providers, along with third-party independent verification and specialist assessments, should provide assurance to customers that their money is being invested in the most principled companies operating the highest environmental, social and governance standards.

"In addition to ongoing screening from the fund providers, Wealthify’s investment team will also continuously monitor the underlying investments to ensure compliance with our own strict ethical investment policy."

The report by the government's advisory group on social impact investing, published last year, found individual investors were often much more interested in ethical investing than their advisers.

Research by Boring Money found 74 per cent of investors were either "interested" or "potentially interested" in ethical and socially responsible investing, with younger investors more interested than older ones.

Wealthify's ethical portfolios will use negative screening for "sin stocks" and positive screening to select companies that demonstrate the highest ESG practices, as well as identifying and investing in those companies making demonstrable improvements.

Among the activities which will be screened out will be weapons, tobacco, adult entertainment, animal testing, oppressive regimes and deforestation.

Wealthify, which has a minimum investment of £1, will be charging more for its ethical portfolios because of the extensive manual researching and monitoring carried out by fund managers on individual companies.

The average fund charges for ethical funds will be 0.54 per cent, ranging between 0.42 per cent and 0.69 per cent. This compares to an average of 0.21 per cent for standard plans.