We know how important it is to invest in our future and to give back to those in need or less fortunate. Did you now that there is a new investment startup that is targeting millennials looking to invest in causes and issues they care about? With Swell Investing you can make money and give to four different charities that will help end poverty, fight cancer, uphold human rights and improve education.
Financial expert, Liam Monaghan of Swell Investing and Pacific Life President Khanh T. Tran joined me for an interview this week to discuss how Swell Investing was created, how their investment company works, whether or not you can earmark the charity your money will be put with, why their model appeals to millennials, and much more!
Candace Rose: Mr. Tran, lets start with you. What did you think when this idea for Swell Investing was first starting out?
Khanh T. Tran: “Well, this idea was something that we came up with three years ago. The simplicity of it was quite surprising in the sense that we thought – giving, investing had been around forever, why hasn’t anyone done this? But as you can see, it took us three years to really bring it to market because there’s a lot of work behind the scenes, in terms of setting it up, making sure that it works right, refining it. To me, and to us around here, the analogy I use is what we’ve created here is simply the similar things as putting wheels on suitcases. Both of those have been around for a while as well, but it took someone like us at Pacific Life, and Liam and his partner in terms of the other gentleman David to bring this about. We since have developed it and brought it to market.”
Candace Rose: Liam, can you tell us exactly how this works?
Liam Monaghan: “The goal of Swell is to help you invest to make money and make a difference. The first part, the invest to make money part – the way we do that is we create investment models. The goal of those models is to perform alongside the U.S. Stock Market or the S&P 500.
The second part, the make a difference part is where it gets really interesting. We do that in two ways, the first way is that the investment models we create are comprised of the companies whose foundations have given the most to specific causes. The four causes that we have are uphold human rights, end poverty, fight cancer, and improve education. The companies that give the most to those causes are the ones included in our models.
The second way that we help make a difference is that 20% of all our revenue is given to charities that champion those same causes. That’s why at Swell we say we help you invest to make money and to make a difference.”
Candace Rose: Can I earmark the types of charities that my money will be put with?
Liam Monaghan: “Sure. Swell Investing has a great giving program. Our four models, we support four particular charities: United Way, Susan G. Komen, American Association of People with Disabilities, and of course Jumpstart for Kids. Those are the four that initially are a part of our giving program, we’ll be expanding that over time to include more charities, and we’ll also be expanding to more causes and creating new investment models that support those causes.”
Candace Rose: Mr. Tran, can you see other investment companies starting to use this model in the future?
Khanh T. Tran: “Well, we haven’t seen anything yet, but we would expect over time as we have success here, obviously anything successful will likely be copied, but it’s not as easy as you think about bringing this to the marketplace. It took us three years to get here and we believe that we’ll have a head start. To the benefit of investors and benefit of causes, certainly those who follow us will give the market the opportunity to do that, so we hope that will happen, but we we expect that we’ll stay ahead of our competition.”
Candace Rose: Liam, why do you think this model appeals to millennials out there?
Liam Monaghan: “We think it’ll actually appeal to people with what we call the millennial mindset, so those people who are high on values when they make investments or their purchasing decisions. They also look to technology and innovation as a type of qualities that they want to support. We actually think that it could appeal to a broad range of people. We know that millennials definitely value those qualities so we see them at the forefront, but we know that a lot of people that we affectionately call gifters who have actually created investment models for their children and for their grandchildren. We know that there is a wide range of appeal out there beyond millennials but we think that it can be popular amongst a lot of different investors.
Khanh T. Tran: “Liam is referring to me when he says ‘not millennials, and millennial mindset perhaps and gifters’. I have three children who qualify to be millennials, and how I see this is an opportunity for them to learn about investing, and learn about the companies they invest in and what good those companies do and learn about giving back. I think there’s a broad range of appeal here.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information on this topic?
Khanh T. Tran: “There’s several places you can go to – the first place you can start with is the website SwellInvesting.com.”