Help Center

  • Do I have to sacrifice returns to be an Impact Investor?

    The answer is, emphatically, no. 

    The idea that impact investing requires a sacrifice on returns is an outdated notion. In fact, the oldest US stock index using environmental and social considerations has clearly shown that ESG can actually create added value. In fact, since its birth in 1990, the Domini Social Index (DSI)—now known as the MSCI KLD Social 400 Index—has outperformed both the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000 on an actual and risk-adjusted basis for 25 years. 

    MSCI KLD Social 400 Index—has outperformed both the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000 on an actual and risk-adjusted basis for 25 years

  • Can I change my portfolio mix?

    Absolutely. To edit your mix, please select the "Edit Mix" option from the "Manage Mix" dropdown on the navigation bar. Once you do, you'll have the option of changing the percentage you allocate to each of the portfolios.

    You have two options when editing your Mix:

    1. The first option is to "Apply Changes to Future Trades." This means that the money you currently have invested will stay where it is, but any future trades will go to the new portfolios that you specify, in the new distribution %s.

    2. The second option is to "Apply Changes to Current Mix and Future Trades." This means that the money you currently have invested will get re-distributed to the new distributions you specified, in addition to future trades. 



  • How do you select the companies that are included in a portfolio theme?

    Swell uses a rules-based investment approach designed to identify the companies that are working to address some of today's leading social and environmental challenges. Learn more about our process on our Investment Approach page. 

  • How do you split my investment into fractional shares?

    When you invest with Swell, you decide the dollar amount that you wish to invest. Our platform then allocates shares to you based on that amount, even if they’re less than whole shares of stock.

    Fractional shares allow us to keep our low minimum requirement and give our investors access to stocks that can only be bought in whole shares through other investment platforms. Additionally, the fact that we put every part of your dollar to use means that your money gets the most value possible out of your investments.

  • How are Swell's portfolios different from sustainable ETFs?

    Swell's portfolios differ from an ETF and even a mutual fund in the following ways:

    Fees: Swell investors are charged a single fee of 0.75% per year on the assets that are managed. For example, on an account of approximately $500, you will pay around $3.75 for the full year. For more information on our fees, please see here.

    Investment Methodology and Approach: Swell's portfolios provide investors with a greater level of transparency into what they own. You can see the individual security holdings here. Each of the portfolios also has a detailed factsheet that offers a deeper look into the impact of each of these holdings. Our portfolio team has experience with not only the management of institutional investments, but also with impact. Impact and performance are the two key factors kept in mind when constructing Swell's portfolios. For more information on our approach, please see here.

    Taxes: Because Swell's portfolios are structured as separately managed accounts (SMAs), they can go well beyond the basic tax efficiency of ETFs by tax-optimizing any withdrawals our users make. Folio Institutional, Swell's broker-dealer, breaks down withdrawals and any gains in an annual 1099 tax form for investors.

    Customization: Swell gives you a greater level of customization: unlike a mutual fund or an ETF, you have the option to remove up to three holdings from your portfolio. Additionally, you can make changes to your portfolio mix anytime you wish without trading fees.

    Shareholding: Because our portfolios are made up of equity securities, Swell investors are shareholders of the companies in their portfolios. This means that they are able to vote on shareholder resolutions and even attend portfolio companies' annual meetings if desired.

  • What is the basic structure of my portfolio?

    Swell portfolios are made up of equity securities (stocks) that are reflective of the things that you care about. In addition to the securities of US companies listed on an US exchange, Swell also invests in American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).

    An ADR is a stock that trades in the US, but represents a specified number of shares in a foreign corporation. ADRs are bought and sold on American markets just like regular stocks, and are issued/sponsored in the US by a bank or brokerage firm. ADRs are an easy and cost-effective way to buy shares in a foreign company. They save money by reducing administration costs and avoiding foreign taxes on each transaction.

  • What kind of return can I expect?

    We all want good returns, but we believe that what matters more is having good returns and making an impact. Swell aims to deliver profit as well as purpose. We invest in companies that are poised for high growth and addressing global issues.

    This means that both the risk and the value in our portfolios can be more concentrated than that of the stock market as a whole. Thematic investing can produce investment returns greater than the broad market returns in the long run; however this also means that the losses may be higher. While we cannot guarantee returns, we can offer a visual representation of the growth of our portfolios compared to that of the S&P 500 thus far.

    We believe that thematic investing should be seen as a way to inject diversity into an overall financial investment profile that also includes savings, retirement account(s), and other equity and fixed income investments.

  • What is rebalancing and how often do you do it?

    Rebalancing is the process of periodically realigning the allocation of assets in your portfolio to maintain your original customized blend of investments. The portfolios will be reconstituted and rebalanced semi-annually unless there is an event deemed by Swell to compromise the integrity of the respective portfolio’s underlying social cause. In these instances, we may reconstitute and rebalance.

    The portfolios will be managed passively between semi-annual reconstitutes. If a stock is suspended from trading for a lengthy period, or is delisted, Swell will remove the security from the portfolio.

  • Can I customize a portfolio by removing specific companies?

    Absolutely. We want you to take pride in the impact that you are making with your investment. You can exclude up to 3 individual stocks from your investment mix (even before making your first investment!) by contacting us at

  • Can a company appear in multiple portfolios?

    Yes, a company can appear in multiple portfolios if they have meaningful revenue in products, services or projects respective of the portfolio themes. Because we aim for a maximum company weight of 4% per portfolio, even duplicated companies will act as a minority of your overall holdings.


  • Will I earn dividends from my investment?

    Yes, many of the companies in our portfolios pay dividends to stockholders. Dividends of less than $1 are returned to your Swell cash account, and any dividends over $1 are automatically reinvested into your portfolio mix.
  • Why do my portfolios have a ticker called "FDIC.Cash"?

    Swell keeps a small amount of cash (0.25%) in each portfolio which is used to pay for your Swell advisory fees. We do this instead of selling tiny amounts of all of your stocks each month. All cash held in portfolios is in an interest-bearing account and is FDIC insured.
  • Does each portfolio have a different risk level?

    Each portfolio has been constructed to maintain a "moderately aggressive" risk level. Across all portfolios, there is a common risk level associated with investing in the stock market; however, the nature of thematic portfolios is to be invested in certain sectors and regions, associated with the theme, where value and risk will be concentrated. Thematic investing should be viewed as a way to diversify a traditional equity portfolio.

    Given the market capitalization and availability of companies in each theme, each portfolio will likely be fairly concentrated, which means it’s also likely to see short-term volatility (prices going up and down). Therefore, all of our portfolios should be seen as long-term investments.