Merrill Lynch Offers ESG Options Through Merrill Edge – Financial Advisor IQ

May 4, 2018

Merrill Lynch and its online advice platform Merrill Edge have launched several investment portfolios that adopt environmental, social and governance factors, according to a press release from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch’s parent company.

The Global Wealth and Investment Management chief investment officer designed the five new portfolios, dubbed the “CIO Core Impact Portfolios,” according to the press release. The portfolios are made up mostly of ETFs and can be tailored for investors with risk profiles ranging from conservative to aggressive, Bank of America claims. The minimum investment is $5,000, according to the press release.

The recent offerings are part of an “ongoing expansion” in the company’s impact investing options, according to a statement in the press release from Keith Banks, vice chairman of GWIM and head of the CIO and the investment solutions group for Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust, Bank of America’s other wealth management unit. The amount of assets invested in impact-related products reached $8.72 trillion at the start of 2016, a 33% increase since 2014, according to Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment data cited by Bank of America in its press release.

Merrill Edge’s robo rivals, meanwhile, continue making inroads into areas of what once was traditional financial advice. Robo-advice pioneers Betterment and Wealthfront have both recently boosted their financial planning offerings, according to InvestmentNews.

Betterment is expanding the capabilities of its retirement planning tool by letting it factor in — rather than merely sync, as before — held-away accounts, such as 401(k) plans, into retirement planning, the publication writes. Wealthfront, meanwhile, is incorporating college cost planning for all users and not just those with 529 college savings plans, according to InvestmentNews.

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