Plum, the AI-powered personal money assistant, has launched an investment option for users setting aside their spare cash via the app. And here’s the good part – one of the options is ethical!
Like similar AI/ bot-powered fintech services such as Cleo, Wealthify and Moneybox, Plum connects to UK current accounts, analyses spending patterns, and then sets aside an amount of money that can be safely saved every few days. Its algorithm understands spending patterns, identifies income and bills and gives its users a unique profile. The money set aside every few days is then transferred to an individual’s Plum savings account.
We recognise that investing should be about what you care about, as well as choosing a risk and return strategy that you are happy with
However, in contrast to most of its competitors, Plum has set its stall out from the beginning to recognise the growing number of millennial savers who want to do something good with their money – ensuring their investment proposition includes the ethical option.
Plum’s new investment tool will give users ultimate control of where their money goes by ensuring that they can invest in areas that they care about. Users can select one of two main investment approaches – a risk-based ‘basic’ approach or one of three, more specific, ‘advanced’ options from ethical, tech or emerging markets – and make investments starting from just £1.
The rise of socially responsible investment, driven by millennials, has been critical in the development of the tool. According to recent research, 67% of millennials say they want their investments to match their social and environment values.
Plum has created its investment tool so that users can align their investments with their personal interests, be that ethical investments, the technology sector or emerging economies.
Plum’s in-house investment experts have carefully selected the full suite of ETFs, based on performance* and value, for its users – the basic funds have been chosen with first-time investors in mind, offering a range choice of funds based on different risk appetites, whereas the advanced funds have been designed for people that want to invest in their interests and more open to risk.
Good for first-time investors, these funds can offer a combination between stocks and bonds. Users will be able to pick a risk level they are comfortable with as the following:
- Conservative – with only 20% stocks, you can expect moderate returns, but are better protected from losses – Historic returns: (5 years available) average 4.73*
- Balanced – with 60% stocks this option offers well-adjusted combination of stocks and shares – Historic returns: (5 years available) average 8.17%*
- Growth – with 80% stocks this fund leaves you most exposed to both growth and losses in the market – Historic returns: (5 years available) average 9.84%*
As the name suggests, these are for more advanced or experienced investors, and give users the ability to choose between the themes of companies and markets. The three categories users will be able to pick from are:
- Ethical – invest in companies selected for their social responsibility – Historic returns: 10.54% – 5 years trailing*
- Emerging Market – invest in the growth of companies in Africa and Asia – Historic returns: 19.18% 1 year rolling average*
- Tech – invest in technology giants like Apple and Facebook – Historic returns: 21.34% – 5 year trailing*
Victor Trokoudes, CEO and co-founder of Plum, said: “Many people see investing as an alien topic, but we want it to be available for everybody. When you consider the amount of money that sits in UK bank accounts losing value due to inflation, it’s clear to see that people need easier access to better returns. The difference with investing with Plum is that people will be able to use money they won’t miss – and instead of letting it sit their earning nothing they will now be able to make returns from the stock market.”
The fee structure is a simple £1 a month Plum fee for accessing investments. Then, depending on the options selected each have their own costs (these do not go to Plum): 0.15% annually on the amount invested; charged monthly + fund fee for the Fund option.
Trokoudes added: “We recognise that investing should be about what you care about, as well as choosing a risk and return strategy that you are happy with. That is why we have introduced this new option for our users so they can align their own values with their money. It means that everybody – regardless of whether they are somebody who has never invested or the most seasoned investor – will have the ability to decide where their money goes.”
Users can talk with the Plum on Facebook Messenger, ask it to save more money, or withdraw money from their savings back to their current account.
Launched in January 2017, Plum has so far saved £24m for 100,000 users, and was named “Startup of the year” at the 2017 National Tech Awards
Here’s how Plum’s fees compare to its competitors’
1 Based on comparison with other major providers.
|AUM Fee pa||Fixed Fee (month)|
|Nutmeg||0.45%||*fund fees in addition|
|Wealthify||0.70%||*fund fees in addition|
|MoneyBox||0.45%||1||*fund fees in addition|
|Plum||0.15%||1||*fund fees in addition|
|Hargreaves||0.45%||*fund fees in addition|
|in pounds||Total Fee|
And if you care about the detail, here’s the lowdown on the investible funds:
* Emerging markets:
Vanguard Global Emerging Markets Fund A Acc
Risk level 6
Historic returns: 19.18% – 1 year rolling average
Technology (Apple, Google, Salesforce):
Legal & General Global Technology Index Trust I Class Accumulation
Risk level 6
Historic returns: 21.34% – 5 year trailing
UK Socially Responsible:
Standard Life UK Ethical investment Ret Platform 1
Risk level 5
Historic returns: 10.54% – 5 year trailing
Vanguard LifeStrategy® 20% Equity Fund
Risk level 3
Historic returns: (5 years available) average 4.73%
Vanguard LifeStrategy® 60% Equity Fund
Risk level 4
Historic returns: (5 years available) average 8.17%
Vanguard LifeStrategy® 80% Equity Fund
Risk level 4
Historic returns: (5 years available) average 9.84%