Ladenburg Thalmann invests in impact investing startup

Newday offers low-barrier access to portfolios built around United Nations' sustainability goals

Aug 13, 2019 @ 1:00 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

Ladenburg Thalmann's latest technology investment is going to Newday Financial Technologies, a startup focused on providing millennials with low-cost impact investing strategies.

Newday is an asset management firm that develops investment funds oriented around the United Nation's sustainable development goals. Using Newday's digital platform, investors can invest as little as $5 in themes like environmental sustainability, animal welfare and gender equality.

[Video: How the 2020 elections could impact ESG investing]

With the Ladenburg investment, Newday will adapt its product to meet the needs of more than 4,300 advisers across Ladenburg's independent broker-dealers: Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network. The companies did not disclose details of the investment.

The investment is the second by Ladenburg's Innovation Lab, which looks for early-stage fintech companies addressing social, economic and cultural trends shaping the future of the financial advice industry. At a May symposium, Ladenburg identified impact investing as an area it wanted to focus on.

(More: Ladenburg bets advisers will serve more self-employed clients in the future)

"Our investment in Newday reflects our belief that millennials and the generations that follow will continue to both seek out technology-enabled entry points into the world of investing and prioritize cause- or mission-based investing that aligns with their values," Dan Sachar, head of Ladenburg Innovation Lab and the firm's vice president for enterprise innovation, said in a statement. "Younger investors want to be engaged citizens of their communities and the world, and Ladenburg and Newday want to help those clients meet this need."

Though venture capital investments in adviser fintech dipped during the second quarter, sustainable investing continues to be an attractive opportunity for traditional financial services firms. In June, Fidelity Investments and Dynasty Financial Partners were part of a $13 million round of funding in Ethic, an asset manager that uses technology to improve access to sustainable investing.

Record inflows into sustainable investing funds are driving the interest. According to Morningstar data, environmental, social and governance funds attracted $8.9 billion in the first six months of 2019 alone, compared to $5.5 billion in all of 2018.

[Register for InvestmentNews' inaugural ESG & Impact Forum at the United Nations] However, Pacific Life pulled the plug on its ESG robo-adviser Swell in July, saying that "the company was not able to achieve the necessary scale in the current market to sustain operations."

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