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Motif Impact Review – Make a Difference With Socially Conscious Robo-Advisor

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Motif Sustainable Automated Investing  Review

Motif Platform Recap

Motif Investing is a low-cost way to create your own portfolio and get actionable investment ideas.

As we wrote in “Robo-Advisor vs. DIY – Motif Is For All Investors” you can become your own mutual fund manager for a low fee.

Buy a pre-made or personally designed Motif or collection of 30 stocks for $9.95. Choose from scores of Motif’s representing market sectors, such as tech or healthcare to investment approaches such as momentum or values based strategies. Buy a target date Motif or high dividend stock or bond Motif, one centered around political themes or choose from hundreds of pre-designed Motifs.  And if you want to trade just one investment, instead of an entire Motif, you’ll only pay $4.95. 

Motif Impact Investing Review-Change the World with this Robo-Advisor

Not one to stagnate, Motif created its own version of a robo-advisor platform. Here’s an introduction to the Motif Robo-Advisor, with or without impact investing.

Motif Impact Investing Portfolios – Robo-Advisor + Sustainable Investing

Motif Impact Investing Portfolios

“Motif Impact identifies best-in-class companies that meet an investor’s personal as well as financial criteria.” ~Motif.com

Research shows that investors want to align their investing with their hearts. Motif, like M1 Finance solves the impact investing problem for investors.

First, Motif’s Impact Portfolios start with five asset class Motifs made up of individual securities and American Depository Receipts (ADRs) listed on U.S. exchanges:

  • U.S. Stocks
  • Developed Markets Stocks
  • Emerging Markets Stocks
  • Real Estate Stocks
  • Commodities Stocks

Each of the initial asset-based Motifs are designed to approximate their related underlying indexes. Now, if you’re unconcerned about investing in accord with your values, then you can choose the default asset class portfolios.

Also, the initial portfolios include two bond Motifs:

  • U.S. Bonds
  • International Bonds

Create Your Sustainable Impact Portfolio

For investors striving to invest with their hearts, craft your Motif Impact Portfolio based upon your values. Motif analyzed and categorized each stock based upon its Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) impact. So, investors have several choices when creating their Motif Impact investment portfolios.

Here’s how the investment process in Motif’s Impact Investing Robo-Advisor Portfolios works:

  1. Choose a preferred asset allocation among the 7 asset classes, as influenced by risk comfort level.
  2. Choose a time horizon for your investments.
  3. Choose your impact preferences, from the Impact Categories below.
  4. If you prefer you can invest in the default investment classes, without the nod to impact investing

The Impact Categories

Each default asset class also has a companion ESG portfolio, that includes the companies scoring the highest in a particular ESG category:

  1. Sustainable Planet-This category focuses on a company’s carbon emissions and product carbon footprint. The Sustainable Planet versions of the basic asset class portfolios includes companies with the lowest carbon footprints.
  2. Fair Labor-This category rates companies on how well they treat their employees based upon labor management, health, safety and supply chain labor standards. Companies in this Motif are ranked to treat their employees and affiliated workers well.
  3. Good Corporate Behavior-Companies are judged based on business ethics, fraud, corruption and financial systems. The companies with high corporate behavior scores remain in this Motif.

Julie is worried about climate change and wants her investments to reflect companies that practice high environmental standards.

Here’s how the Impact portfolio might work for Julie, as she incorporates the Sustainable Planet Motif:

First Julie selects her asset allocation and time horizon. The stock portion of her portfolio would consist of recommended percentages of U.S., developed markets international, emerging markets international, real estate and commodities stocks. Instead of choosing the default asset classes for her personal investment portfolio, Julie chooses the Sustainable Planet version of the default Motifs.

The Sustainable Planet Version of an asset class includes only companies with good scores in the carbon emissions/sustainability categories. This gives Julie broad diversification while bowing to her principles.

Investors concerned about human rights would choose the Good Corporate Behavior Impact Portfolios. Those seeking firms with the fairest labor practices would invest in the Fair Labor Impact choice.

Motif’s Impact Investing Robo-Advisor Features

Similar to most other robo-advisors, all Motif Impact Portfolios are updated quarterly back to the investors preferred asset allocation.

The initial asset allocation percentages vary in the amounts apportioned to stocks versus bonds. More conservative investors hold smaller percentages of stock investments and greater percentages of bond type investments.  Conversely, the more aggressive investors own greater amounts of stock asset classes with a fewer percent of their overall portfolio in bond Motifs.

Rebalancing means that stocks and bonds are bought and sold so that percentages invested in each category reflect the investors initial asset allocation.

Motif Offers a Unique Retirement Feature

As investors age and get closer to their investment horizon or retirement date, the asset allocation of the investor’s Motif Impact Portfolio is rebalanced annually away from riskier asset classes, into less risky holdings. The basis for this is so that the investors returns will be steadier as she ages, and her account will be more stable.

Motif’s Customizable Investing Fees

The Motif a la carte menu is:

$9.95 to buy or sell Motifs or to rebalance positions in a Motif ($250 minimum trade amount)

$4.95 per stock or ETF trade within a Motif.  

The Motif subscription menu is:

Blue Starter – $4.95 per month

  • Auto-invest and auto-rebalance in 1 Motif

Blue Standard – $9.95 per month

  • Motif Impact Account
  • Auto-Invest in unlimited # of motifs
  • Auto-Rebalance any professional motif
  • Exclusive market reports (Motif Capital exclusive market insights and commentary)
  • Commission-free trades (1 motif or stock trade per month)

Blue Unlimited – $19.95 per month

  • Motif Impact Account
  • Auto-Invest in unlimited # of motifs
  • Auto-Rebalance any professional motif
  • Exclusive market reports (Motif Capital exclusive market insights and commentary)
  • Commission-free trades (3 motif or stock trade per month)
  • All stock quotes are real-time on all pages, not just trade pages
  • Unlimited next market open trades and commission free

The Motif subscription menu for Automated Investing is:

Motif Impact Account (<$100,000 of invested assets) – $9.95 per month

Also included in Blue Standard and Unlimited plans

Motif Impact Account ($100,000+ of invested assets) – $9.95 for each $100,000 invested

  • For example, $9.95 for $99,999 invested
  • $19.95 for $100,001 invested
  • $29.95 for $200,001 invested    

Motif Impact Investing Automated Portfolios Review – Pros and Cons

Pros

The impact portfolios are a transparent way to approach the impact investing arena.

The subscription fee for the Motif Impact Account of $0.01 per $1,000 or 0.01% is quite competitive.

Cons

If an investor has more than one interest in sustainable investing, it’s unclear how she might put that into play. It appears that she can only choose one of the impact portfolio choices.

In sum, there’s a lot to like about the Motif Impact portfolios including auto rebalancing, the opportunity to own individual stocks, as well as low and transparent fees. If you’re looking for a robo-advisor that respects your values, then Motif Impact Portfolios might be for you.

There’s no charge to sign up and you can get your personalized Motif Impact Portfolio in less than 2 minutes.

Disclosure: Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you sign up or buy through the affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t believe is valuable.

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Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

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