Rating:  Swell Investing rating

Swell Investing commissions schedule, fees, broker stock trading cost, hidden charges, and online account pricing.

Swell Investing Fees

Swell is a newer investment platform that is trying to tap into a niche but growing group of socially conscious “impact” investors. They make it easy and cost-effective to create a diversified portfolio of socially responsible companies that are aiming to solve some of the biggest threats facing our planet today – everything from access to clean water and renewable energy sources to tackling diseases ravaging the developing world. If you are reading this article, you’re probably at least a little curious about investing with Swell and what the fees are like compared to more traditional brokers – if so, continue reading to find out.

The Swell Platform

Before we get into the fees, it’s important to understand Swell’s platform since it’s not like any of the traditional brokers, and this means their fees are also unique. At Swell, you cannot buy individual securities (stocks, bonds, options, ETFs, mutual funds, etc.) but rather you invest your money in any of their half-dozen or so pre-built “impact” portfolios, each with its own socially-responsible theme (see below graphic). Swell hand-picks between 30 to 60 of the best companies within each theme to invest in so that you don’t need to do the research. You can invest in as many or as few of their portfolios as you wish.


Because you cannot place individual trades on Swell, you will not be charged any commissions. You cannot buy individual stocks, bonds, ETFs, or derivatives and so there are no trading costs in that sense. There aren’t any commissions for buying into or selling out of any of Swell’s portfolios either.

Management Fee

Although there are no commissions at Swell, they do charge a flat annual management fee of 0.75% of your account value, regardless of which portfolios or how few or many of their portfolios you choose to invest in, which is debited from your account on a monthly basis. 0.75% is a fairly standard management fee (perhaps a bit on the higher side) in the industry when compared to other actively managed mutual funds, which is essentially what Swell’s portfolios are. They do not have any tiered fee levels either; every Swell investor pays the same 0.75% management fee, regardless of account size.

Swell Investing Fees

Similar socially-minded mutual funds, like Vanguard’s FTSE Social Index, may have lower management fees (around 0.20%) but these funds are usually more general in their themes of social and corporate responsibility, which they apply more broadly in implementing their strategies. Swell is the only platform we’ve found that really lets you invest in portfolios that are targeting very specific global threats and problems.


Invest in renewable energy with as little as $50.

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Account Minimum

You will need at least $50 to open a Swell account. And you can allocate your funds to as few or as many of Swell’s portfolios as you like. This compares very favorably to most socially responsible mutual funds that have minimums investment requirements starting at $1,000 or more. Vanguard’s FTSE Social Index requires an investment of least $3,000.

Investment Process

Swell does a great job of ensuring sure that each company included in one of its socially responsible portfolios “fits the bill” so to speak. The first criteria they use when selecting investments is to make sure that an integral part of each company’s business model is addressing one of the major global threats they’ve identified. Only after it passes that first check does Swell analyze the company’s profitability and financial condition to see if it warrants a place in Swell’s platform.

Furthermore, you can click into the top holdings in any of Swell’s portfolios on their website to find out what the company does and how it fits into the portfolio. For example, Swell’s Zero Waste portfolio invests in companies whose products are trying to minimize the amount of waste we generate (both garbage and carbon emissions). The website shows that Donaldson Company is one of its top holdings, a company whose products reduce carbon emissions in school busses, waste haulers and off-road equipment.

Swell Investing Fees Conclusion

In summary, if you are looking to make socially responsible investing a key tenet of your portfolio we would recommend using Swell’s platform. They really take it to the next level by offering multiple thematic portfolios to allocate across, with each of their holdings being an obvious fit for the strategy it’s a part of. Swell’s management fee is higher than some socially-minded mutual funds, however we feel this can be justified by the level of focus that Swell applies. Most socially-minded mutual funds have broader inclusion criteria and a less-focused strategy, which may not be enough to satisfy many investors in this niche space.

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Invest in renewable energy with as little as $50.

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Swell Investing Fees reviewed by TopRatedFirms.com Rating: 4.5