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Swell Introduces Impact IRAs and Lowers Minimum: Portfolio Products

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Swell Investing announced two new updates to its platform — the ability to open an IRA and roll over an existing 401(k) or IRA, as well as a new lower minimum option.

Swell now offers impact investing IRA options with its new $50 minimum. Since launching in May, Swell’s investor base has grown by an average of nearly 20% a week and the average account balance to date is in excess of $4,000.

“Every week we sit down and listen to users as part of our human-centered design approach,” said Dave Fanger, CEO of Swell Investing, in a statement. “Overwhelmingly, we heard that investors want to shift money they are already investing for the future into an impact option. That’s why we set our sights on an IRA and rollover option.”

Swell offers six portfolios focused on addressing social and environmental challenges: green technology, renewable energy, zero waste, clean water, healthy living and disease eradication. The portfolios offer retail investors the opportunity to invest in nearly 300 companies chosen for their commitment to progress as well as their potential for growth.

Using a rules-based approach, Swell’s impact team pulls from thousands of sources daily, including each company’s MSCI ESG (environmental, social and governance) rating and its alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

According to Swell, it differs from others in the socially responsible investing space in that it also requires each company to derive revenue from its associated impact theme, an indicator that it is actively contributing to progress.

Wealthsimple Introduces Investment Portfolio for Observant Muslims

Wealthsimple launched a Halal Investing portfolio to provide observant Muslims in the United States with an accessible, low-cost, diversified investment option through Wealthsimple’s digital platform.

Islamic laws prohibit investing in certain companies and financial products. Religious Muslims are prohibited from profiting from some forms of interest, as well as from certain business activities like alcohol, tobacco and gambling. 

Wealthsimple’s Halal Investing portfolio uses the same passive investment strategy as its other portfolios, which track broad swaths of the market instead of picking individual stocks.

Like Wealthsimple’s Standard and Socially Responsible Investing portfolios, there is no account minimum, and fees are 0.4% to 0.5% of assets managed, depending on the amount invested.

With MSCI, Wealthsimple designed the Halal Investing portfolio using a methodology approved by MSCI’s committee of Shariah scholars. 

The all-equity portfolio comprises 50 stocks designed to maximize diversification and closely track the MSCI ACWI Islamic Index. The stocks included in the portfolio were filtered using two screening processes: a business activity screen and a financial screen. The business activity screen filters companies that are directly active in, or derive over 5% of their revenue from, a prohibited activity such as alcohol, firearms, gambling or pork production. The financial screen filters out companies that derive significant income from interest or have considerable leverage.

BizEquity Launches Online-Only Business Valuation Certification Program

BizEquity, in partnership with the Business Enterprise Institute, launched an online certification course that will provide advisors with a Certified Business Valuation Analyst (CBVA) accreditation. 

Called the Business Valuation Institute (BVI), the online certification will help financial advisors understand, interpret and utilize the principles, approaches, financial methods and tools associated with a business valuation.

The course takes an average of 30 hours to complete and serves as verification that advisors have undergone the training they need to optimally serve their clients.

The course will consist of principles and applications of classical valuation approaches and the ARM Private Firm valuation approach, exposure to online valuation resources, and a final case-study Valuation Capstone Project. The course is designed for all financial professionals, mainly wealth advisors, insurance agents and financial institution bankers, but also to business brokers, attorneys and CPAs.

Envestnet | PMC Offers Long/Short Equity Strategies via SMAs

Envestnet | PMC, the portfolio management consultants group of Envestnet Inc., now provides the advisors it serves with access to long/short equity strategies available on the Envestnet platform through separately managed accounts.

PMC seeks to offer access to multiple alpha-generating long/short equity strategies spanning market capitalizations, geographic regions, market sectors, and investment styles through SMAs, and is actively looking to build out its lineup. Investors can potentially enhance portfolio diversification and mitigate exposure to volatility by allocating to multiple strategies.

PMC currently offers three long/short equity strategies as SMAs. The single- and multi-manager long/short equity strategies currently on the Envestnet platform include: AlphaHedge HarborWalk Long/Short, which is a small/mid-cap domestic single strategy; AlphaHedge Infinitas Long/Short, which is a large-cap global multi-manager portfolio; and AlphaHedge ISF Long/Short, which is a large-cap domestic multi-manager portfolio.

All of these investment strategies are held in brokerage accounts registered under the name of the investor, and all securities are directly owned and transparent to the investor. This transparency allows advisors to perform extensive analytics on a strategy at any time.

Most of the strategies require a minimum investment of $250,000, which is much lower than the minimums set by the majority of traditional hedge funds. 

—Read last week’s portfolio roundup here: VelocityShares Launches Libor Rate ETNs: Portfolio Products