Whether it’s termed ethical, responsible or sustainable investing, the aim is generally the same. It’s investing your money in businesses which have some intention of making the world a better place. In the past, ethical investing was the only option if you wanted to invest in companies aligned to your values. But this ‘good money’ sector has moved on a lot in recent years.
Making investment decisions on behalf of the investor
There are many reasons to invest through a fund, rather than buying assets on your own. At a basic level, investing in a fund means having a fund manager make investment decisions on behalf of the investor.
Combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments
Pooled investment funds – also known as ‘collective investment schemes’ – are a way of combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments and managed by a professional fund manager.
Market index following the overall performance of a selection of investments
Tracker funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are investments that aim to mirror the performance of a market index. A market index follows the overall performance of a selection of investments. The FTSE 100 is an example of a market index – it includes the 100 companies with the largest value on the London Stock Exchange.
Stock market return linked but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares
If you save regularly or invest a lump sum using a life insurance policy, you might choose to invest in a with-profits fund. These aim to give you a return linked to the stock market but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares. However, they are complex and are not as popular a form of investing as they used to be.
Public company aiming to make money by investing in other companies
An investment trust is a public company that raises money by selling shares to investors, and then pools that money to buy and sell a wide range of shares and assets. Different investment trusts will have different aims and different mixes of investments.
Investing in wide range of different tax-efficient investments
From July 2014, Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) can now be used to hold stocks and shares or cash, or any combination of these, up to the current annual limit. An ISA is a ‘wrapper’ that can be used to help save you tax.
Helping you save for a first home or for your retirement at the same time
The start of the new tax year on 6 April 2017 saw the launch of the Lifetime ISA (LISA), which was announced in the 2016 Budget. This is a new type of Individual Savings Account (ISA) designed to help you save for a first home or for your retirement at the same time. To be eligible, you have to be aged between 18 and 39 years old (up until your 40th birthday).
Life insurance policies where you invest a lump sum in a variety of available funds
Investment bonds are life insurance policies where you invest a lump sum in a variety of available funds. Some investment bonds run for a fixed term, while others have no set investment term. When you cash investment bonds in, how much you get back depends on how well – or how badly – the investment has done.
Most over-45s are not making plans to match their hopes for the future, according to research from Standard Life. The vast majority (86%) of those aged 45 or over are already dreaming about escaping their working life for retirement, but only 8% of the same age group have recently checked the retirement date on their pension plans to make sure it is still in line with their plans.