On Guns and Investing: Our Response
The Betterment SRI portfolio represents a reduction in exposure to weapons manufacturers compared to conventional portfolios, but it isn’t perfect. There’s a good reason for that.
Many have written us in the wake of the recent mass shooting tragedy with a clear and simple question: “Does my Betterment Portfolio contain gun or weapons manufacturer stocks?”
The tough, but honest, answer to that question is “Yes, a little.” At Betterment, we invest in thousands of securities across industries so that our customers can pursue the highest returns for the expected risk. We build diversified portfolios by selecting exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that offer low costs and tax efficiency. In short, we’re buying from the entire market for maximal diversification.
For investors concerned about holding money in gun manufacturer stocks, we offer an alternative: our socially responsible investing portfolio, Betterment SRI.
Betterment SRI (read more about socially responsible investing) reduces investment exposure, particularly in large U.S. companies, to weapons and gun manufacturers, in addition to other industries and companies that some wish to avoid. It does this by utilizing ETFs that are pre-screened based on certain social, environmental, and governance criteria.
It’s not a perfect solution. It can be difficult to build an all-satisfying SRI portfolio, both because highly rated SRI funds tend to cost more, and because of the interwoven nature of investments, companies, and specific values.
But, it’s a start. We’re proud of our SRI offering and continue to invest in analyzing and optimizing the portfolio to help you seek strong returns, while taking into account the values that you care about.
To those who wrote us recently, and to those who will write in the future, thank you for pushing us to serve you better. It’s because of you that we’re here, and we’ll continue to work to make Betterment the smart home for your investments.
If you’re interested in opening an account with or switching to a Betterment SRI portfolio, visit the Portfolio tab in your account.
ETF Selection for Portfolio Construction: A Methodology
Betterment seeks to maximize investor take-home returns, which drives our investment selection criteria and process.
Understanding Our Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Portfolio
Learn more about how you can invest in a way that reduces exposure to companies that are deemed to have a negative social impact.
Investing For the World You Want
How can you incorporate your values into your investments? While many of us have principles and views about what is “right” and “wrong”, putting those principles into action within a portfolio can be difficult.
Explore your first goal
This is a great place to start—an emergency fund for life's unplanned hiccups. A safety net is a conservative portfolio.
Whether it's a long way off or just around the corner, we'll help you save for the retirement you deserve.
If you want to invest and build wealth over time, then this is the goal for you. This is an excellent goal type for unknown future needs or money you plan to pass to future generations.