Big Issue-led ethical investment platform opens to public
A website allowing individuals in the UK to become impact investors with as little as £25 a month opened for business this week.
Co-founded by The Big Issue and a coalition of industry partners, The Big Exchange gives customers the chance to make a financial return while making a positive social and environmental impact.
It offers access to 36 funds run by 11 leading fund managers, including Standard Life Aberdeen and Columbia Threadneedle.
Only funds that meet The Big Exchange’s criteria for sufficient positive contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals will be allowed on the website, and investors will be able to see a summary of how much positive impact on people’s lives and the environment a fund is making through a gold, silver or bronze medal system (pictured top).
Customers can choose either individual investments in funds or ready-made selections based on risk. They pay an annual service and administration fee of 0.25% – among the cheapest on the market – plus a fee to the manager running the selected fund, typically 0.8%-1.8%.
Impact investing from £3
The Big Exchange expects to attract 80,000 customers over the next four years.
UK residents can begin investing with just £25 if setting up a regular monthly payment, or from £100 for a one-off payment. The hope is “to make this even more accessible in the future”, according to the website.
When the project was first announced almost two years ago, Nigel Kershaw, chair of The Big Exchange and of The Big Issue Group, said he hoped the minimum investment could be brought down to just £2.50. A spokesperson confirmed this week that the goal was still to reach a minimum investment equivalent to the price of a Big Issue magazine, currently £3.
In a statement this week Kershaw said The Big Exchange aimed “to transform the financial system” and open up impact investing to “everybody with savings to invest”. The coronavirus pandemic meant more people wanted to make their money “count for more”, he added.
Regular UK investors will have access to active investments, managed by leading fund managers, and see them independently awarded medals for the extent of positive impact they are creating
Jill Jackson, managing director of The Big Exchange, said: “For the first time, regular UK investors will have access to active investments, managed by leading fund managers, and see them independently awarded medals for the extent of positive impact they are creating on people and the planet.”
Campbell Fleming, formerly global head of distribution at Standard Life Aberdeen and a director of The Big Exchange, said: “The asset management community involved in The Big Exchange have a collective ambition to make sure people in the UK can access positively impactful investments, while aiming to improve their financial future.
“I was proud to be integral in Aberdeen Standard Investments joining forces with our co-founders, partners, and supporters and be part of a movement creating meaningful social impact – starting with the UK's first actively managed social, environmental and impact investing platform.”
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