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What do the various terms such as SRI, ESG, and Impact Investing mean and what is the difference?

  • SRI=Sustainable and Responsible Investing-this is the overarching term for the field of sustainable investing.  It includes three parts.
    • 1) ESG Screening (below)
    • 2) Shareholder Advocacy
    • 3) Impact Investing (below)
  • ESG=Environmental, Social, and Governance-the acronym being given to screening being done for mutual funds, stocks and ETFs.  There are many data management firms that are now able to score the various funds based upon the underlying companies it holds.
  • Impact Investing-sometimes referred to in the same way as SRI, but it is actually a subset of Sustainable and Responsible Investing. Impact Investing refers to the “new” asset class that focuses on allocating assets to more impactful vehicles such as community notes, microlending, etc.

Are you a fiduciary when it comes to managing portfolios?

  • Yes. As an independent registered investment advisor (RIA) we have the highest standard of client care and must always act in the client’s best interest. Commission earning advisors are not fiduciaries. They work as salespeople for investment and insurance brokerages, and are only held to suitability standards. If you find your advisor pushing annuities, life insurance contracts or “proprietary” funds, they most likely do not have fiduciary duty. We are independent and use Charles Schwab and Co. as our third party custodian.

How do you charge or bill your clients and what are your minimums to become a client?

  • We are a fee-only advisor that charges a fee on the assets that we manage.  On our website, we have a page titled “Pricing” that shows full transparency of our management fees.  Our minimum asset level to become a full service client is $100,000 though we do offer our new digital, automatically rebalancing investment program called Sustainfolio which has just a $5,000 minimum asset level to become a client.

How do you approach ESG and sustainable screening in client portfolios?

  • When it comes to ESG screening, we utilize both an inclusionary method (investing in solid ESG firms) and an exclusionary screen (keeping out the tobacco, big oil, etc.).  Some clients prefer to have higher allocations towards issues they are passionate about (gender diversity, alternative energy, etc.) so we are able to tailor more specific holdings as well.

What types of accounts do you manage for clients?

  • Each client is different.  Some individual and family clients have multiple account types including IRAs, Trusts, Inherited IRAs, ROTH IRAs, SEP IRAs, Donor Advised Funds,  joint and individual accounts.  Our institutional clients may hold corporate reserve accounts, non-profit endowments, fixed income only management, etc.

What is Sustainfolio?

  • Sustainfolio is our more digital “hands off” type investment platform that allows those who may not need comprehensive asset management. The program was created with Charles Schwab and Co. as the custodian via their Institutional Intelligent program.  The minimum on this program is $5,000 which may be good for those interested in opening a ROTH IRA or Traditional IRA for the first time.  After answering a few questions about risk and timeline, a new account is opened which invests only in low-cost ETFs (exchange traded funds) that have all been sustainably screened by our firm.  It also automatically rebalances the portfolio regularly to make sure that the asset allocation stays in line with your profile, so you don’t have to worry about making trades, etc.