BrightPlan, a company looking to better Financial Wellness, has announced the launch of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) portfolio and new enhancements to its investing capabilities, continuing to drive financial wellness innovation in the market. ESG criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that values-driven investors may use to screen potential investments. BrightPlan’s new investing capabilities are core to enabling employees’ financial well-being by providing them with more choices to invest for their life goals in a way that aligns with their values.
The company’s expanded investing features directly address the needs of employees and empower them to achieve financial success by investing in the right way to grow their money. Recent survey results show 82% of employees seek employer-provided investing tools to help achieve their financial goals―making it the top financial wellness feature employees are asking for, along with financial education.
“Supporting the development of employees’ holistic financial well-being includes growing and building wealth through investing,” said Marthin De Beer, founder and CEO of BrightPlan. “In a world of cryptocurrency and meme stocks, employees who are ready to invest in a way that aligns with their values need a solution that guides them in the right direction. Through an investment strategy that is personal goals-based, in your best interest and reflects best practices, we are meeting those demands.”
Environmental, Social and Governance Portfolios
Employees enrolled in BrightPlan can now invest their money in a way that better aligns with their personal values through the ESG portfolio. It invests in funds that use various ESG criteria when choosing which companies to invest in. For example, an employee who cares about climate change may want to invest in portfolios that include companies with a lower carbon footprint or have sizable investments in renewable energy. Likewise, an employee who cares about social issues may want to invest in portfolios that include companies that perform well on gender diversity or have ethical supply chains.
In the stock portion of the portfolio, BrightPlan uses funds managed by BlackRock that give greater weight to companies leading their industry in ESG practices. BrightPlan also utilises TIAA-CREF to strategically allocate to bonds with direct and measurable impact.
As the war for talent rages on, HR practitioners continue to look for ways to support their employees’ holistic financial well-being, which includes helping their employees achieve life goals such as buying a home, on-time retirement, or building wealth to pass on to their children―all objectives that can be better achieved through investing.
BrightPlan’s new index portfolio allows employees to invest their money in an assortment of index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) customised to their risk tolerance and time horizon. Many employees don’t know where to start with investing or are afraid of making a mistake. Offering an index fund option as the default for employees aligns with best practices in investment management.
This “passive” investment approach is BrightPlan’s simplest, lowest cost option that emphasises broad diversification through minimising fees and taxes.
Invest for Growth
Many employees have money in their savings account accumulating little to no interest. They have a general sense that the money is for long-term wealth building but have not earmarked it for a specific goal such as a house down payment, child’s college education or retirement.
By answering a few simple questions about their investing timelines, BrightPlan will recommend and select the best strategy complete with a customised portfolio based on their responses. The guidance provided by BrightPlan follows the best practices of investment management by customising investment portfolios according to an employee’s goal, risk tolerance, time horizon and other preferences while minimising costs and maintaining global diversification.
One of the best predictors of investment performance is the fees a mutual fund or an ETF charges; the lower the fee, the better the expected investment performance. BrightPlan’s investment strategy consists of high quality, low-cost funds and ETFs from companies like Vanguard, BlackRock and Dimensional Fund Advisors, ensuring employees have the best options for investing. BrightPlan manages these funds and ETFs with a thoughtful and diversified portfolio customised for each employee’s goal, risk tolerance and preferences. BrightPlan’s annual fees for this managed service is one of the lowest in the industry at 0.25% of invested assets.
As an SEC-registered investment advisor BrightPlan has a fiduciary duty which includes a duty of care and a duty of loyalty to clients. In addition, the company’s commitment to the fiduciary standard via it’s annual certification by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX), ensures that BrightPlan adheres to fiduciary standards and provides financial advice that is independent and objective.