Review - Ethical Investing with Wealthify
Now a part of Aviva, Wealthify is one of the original wave of robo-investors which came to the UK. In a nutshell, it pulls together a group of ETFs depending on the level of risk which you choose and then the Wealthify team balance and adjust these as they see necessary to chart a positive course.
When you sign up for Wealthify (don't forget to claim your £25 introductory bonus here) the app or website asks you what product you'd like to set up. You've got a quite the range of options with everything from stocks and shares ISAs, Junior ISAs, General Investment Accounts and pensions available.
Once you've decided what sort of account you'd like, Wealthify walks you through a variety of questions to establish what sort of investor you're likely to be and how risk adverse you are.
Depending on your answers, you'll be allowed to choose one of the plan risk levels on the right. The happier you are to embrace volatility the large the exposure to shares you'll be offered.
The answers to the questions really do make a huge difference to what Wealthify will offer you. So much so, that we were only allowed Cautious to Confidence plans when we first created our account - and we thought we were quite bold with our answers!
During this stage you can also choose whether you want to opt for one of Wealthify's Original or Ethical plans. In terms of what Wealthify considers Ethical they say: "Ethical Investing aims to exclude profiting from activities that are considered harmful to society and the environment and to invest in organisations, companies and projects that are committed to operating in a way that is sustainable for the future.
This is typically done by filtering out harmful activities (negative screening) and proactively seeking to invest in companies that are committed to making a positive impact through their environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices (positive screening)."
That essentially means ‘sin stocks’ like tobacco, gambling, weapons and adult entertainment are out, along with animal testing, intensive farming, nuclear power, genetic engineering, deforestation, and poor human or labour rights. That seems like a reasonable foundation to us and should satisfy the majority of investors. There's also not a huge gulf in performance in 2019 between the Original and Ethical models - it's always nice to know you can choose the good side of investing and still benefit from the rewards. Obviously 2020 might not look so rosy.
Continuing through it's a very simple process; establishing your initial investment and then your subsequent monthly payments should you choose to set these up too.
This is one area where we need to be careful with all platforms. The larger the fee they take, the less growth our investing returns because it ends up in someone else pockets, again. With Wealthify, they had a bit of a rejig last year and they now operate a flat fee of 0.60% plus fund charges. Usually this means you're looking at around 0.9% overall for an Original plan and 1.05% for an Ethical plan, which is about par for the course when it comes to robo-investors.
Save us trying to explain the ins and outs which vary with different investment amounts, it's best to head to Wealthify's super simple calculator tool and punch in your numbers.
The other good news is that Wealthify are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme meaning your money is covered up to £85,000.
Keeping investors up to date.
This is one area where Wealthify, and British digital banks and investment platforms more widely, shine. The Wealthify team send frequent emails outlining what they've done to your plan and they provide monthly updates to their blogs. Mixed in amongst the monthly updates are a variety of interesting articles explaining everything from methodology, through to 101 blogs and even some good info in there about pensions too.
If you're really interested then you can get lost in Wealthify's fantastic FAQ section which can help equip complete novices with everything they need to understand Wealthify's offering.
Another area where Wealthify shine is customer support. They're prompt, thorough and helpful when we've contacted them on live chat, email and we needed them once on the phone and nothing was too much bother in each instance.
All the team's contact details are listed on their website and the phone lines are also open on the weekend, albeit for 3 and a half hours on a Saturday morning.
Is Wealthify for me?
If you're new to investing and want to see how it works, dip your toe in the water and have your hand held or invest passively (neither of which are bad things) then Wealthify is a brilliant starting point.
In the year and a half we've been invested they've performed admirably on a Confident Ethical investment plan, up nearly 11% even with the Coronavirus crisis in the middle of all that. While past performance isn't a reliable indicator of future growth, Wealthify is a great platform and one which we can see ourselves using for the foreseeable future.
If you'd like to get started too, don't forget you can get yourself a £25 bonus when you invest £500 for 3 months using our referral link here.