Best of

Best Brokers for Socially Responsible Investing 2019

Anna-Louise JacksonApril 23, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our picks for

Socially responsible investors who want a broker

These brokers provide a broad range of ETF and mutual fund offerings for socially responsible investors, along with tools and features that will benefit all types of investors.

Etrade

on Etrade's website

on Etrade's website

Fees

$6.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

Pros

  • Easy-to-use tools.
  • Large investment selection.
  • Excellent customer support.
  • Access to extensive research.
  • Advanced mobile app.
  • Reduced commissions for frequent traders.

Cons

  • Higher commissions for low-volume traders.
  • Minimum balance requirement for active trading platform.
Fees

$4.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$100

cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

Pros

  • No inactivity fees.
  • Two platforms with no minimum or fees.
  • Above-average mobile app.
  • Extensive research.
  • Strong customer support.

Cons

  • Higher trade commissions.

Our picks for

Socially responsible investors who want a robo-advisor

These online advisors provide portfolios for specific SRI strategies, offering diversification, but with lower associated costs and a hands-off approach.

Wealthsimple

on Wealthsimple's website

on Wealthsimple's website

Fees

0.40%-0.50%

management fee

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$10,000

amount of assets managed for free for one year

Pros

  • Free access to human advisers.
  • Free portfolio analysis.
  • Free tax-loss harvesting.
  • Socially responsible investment options.
  • No account minimum.

Cons

  • Higher account management fees.
  • Limited free-management promotion.
  • Limited personal finance tools.
Fees

0.30%

management fee

Account Minimum

$5,000

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Low investment expense ratios
  • Competitive management fee
  • Niche account types
  • Morningstar-built portfolios

Cons

  • Small portfolios
  • No tax-loss harvesting

Our pick for

Customizable approaches

These picks combine some of the do-it-yourself portfolio-building approach offered by the online brokers with the ability to customize selections.

Motif Investing

on Motif 's website

on Motif 's website

Fees

$4.95

per share

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Fractional shares.
  • Portfolio trades of up to 30 stocks or ETFs.
  • Theme- and values-based guidance.

Cons

  • No dividend reinvestment.
  • Minimal trading tools.

Summary of Best Brokers for Socially Responsible Investing 2019

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Etrade Logo

Etrade

on Etrade's website

$6.95

per trade

Up to $600

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

$500

on Etrade's website

Schwab Brokerage Logo

Schwab Brokerage

$4.95

per trade

$100

cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

Read Review
Wealthsimple Logo

Wealthsimple

on Wealthsimple's website

0.40%-0.50%

management fee

$10,000

amount of assets managed for free for one year

$0

on Wealthsimple's website

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios Logo

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios

0.30%

management fee

None

no promotion available at this time

$5,000

Read Review
Motif Investing Logo

Motif Investing

on Motif 's website

$4.95

per share

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

on Motif 's website

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Etrade Logo

Etrade

on Etrade's website

$6.95

per trade

Up to $600

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

$500

on Etrade's website

Schwab Brokerage Logo

Schwab Brokerage

$4.95

per trade

$100

cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

Read Review
Wealthsimple Logo

Wealthsimple

on Wealthsimple's website

0.40%-0.50%

management fee

$10,000

amount of assets managed for free for one year

$0

on Wealthsimple's website

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios Logo

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios

0.30%

management fee

None

no promotion available at this time

$5,000

Read Review
Motif Investing Logo

Motif Investing

on Motif 's website

$4.95

per share

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

on Motif 's website

How to pick a broker

Here’s a rule of thumb: Online brokers wanting to appeal to socially responsible investors will make sure SRI options are easy to find. Several of the major brokerages have a robust lineup of ETFs and mutual funds earmarked as SRI (or sometimes labeled “socially conscious”), along with tools to identify these investments. If you have a specific ETF or mutual fund in mind and are looking to narrow your options, check availability (and related fees) with the various brokers.

With a variety of options at your disposal, be sure to consider other factors specific to your goals — are you a beginner, a day trader, a retirement saver in need of an IRA rollover? Consult our comprehensive list of the best online brokers for general investors or use NerdWallet’s free brokerage comparison tool.

How to vet an SRI strategy

It’s also important to keep the following in mind as you decide which SRI investments will work for you:

  • Selection. A broker with a large array of options may be appealing if you seek variety, but if you have a specific fund or strategy in mind, a more limited selection may suffice.
  • Management costs. Not all ETFs and mutual funds are created the same, and associated management costs (expense ratios) can also vary widely when it comes to socially responsible options. Similarly, SRI portfolios at robo-advisors may carry higher fees than other offerings.
  • Diversification. As with any investing strategy, it’s important to remember the benefits of diversification (namely, reducing risk) and to include a range of assets that cut across various industries, company sizes and geographic areas when selecting investments that align with your beliefs.

Unsure how to approach SRI, or investing in general? See NerdWallet’s guide on how to invest money.

Last updated on April 23, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for brokers and robo-advisors are weighted averages of several categories, including investment selection, customer support, account fees, account minimum, trading costs and more. Our survey of brokers and robo-advisors includes the largest U.S. providers by assets under management, plus notable and/or emerging players in the industry. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include advisory fees, branch access, user-facing technology, customer service and mobile features. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Brokers for Socially Responsible Investing 2019