Sustainable investment is becoming increasingly popular. But which banks and brokers offer the best securities accounts for sustainable funds and ETFs?
More than $511 billion (€500 billion) are now invested in Germany according to social-ecological criteria – an increase of 50 percent in the past year alone. A good third (36 percent) or $134.2 billion (€131.2 billion) of this is in the securities accounts of private investors. With an increase of 230 percent, the market for private investors grew significantly faster than that for institutional investors. This is the result of the “Market Report 2022” of the Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlage (FNG).
The three letters ESG – they stand for Environment, Social, Governance – are very well received by investors. A trend that banks and online brokers have naturally also recognized. “The number of sustainable offerings in active funds and ETFs has increased overall,” said Beate Balke of FMH Finanzberatung.
“However, the number of active funds eligible for savings plans is still small, unlike ETFs.” Investors who want to invest regularly in passive index funds have a much greater choice.
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The best depots for fund and ETF investors
FMH Finanzberatung has chosen the best securities accounts for sustainable active funds and for sustainable ETFs exclusively for WirtschaftsWoche. Decisive for the ranking were, in addition to the number of tradable funds and ETFs, the selection of savings plans, and the costs.
A total of 24 providers of custody accounts for active ESG funds were evaluated, three times receiving the grade “Very Good” and twelve times the grade “Good”. ETF investors can choose between five “very good” custody accounts and ten “good” offers. Here, too, 24 providers were evaluated.
The best portfolios for active funds are offered by Commerzbank, Consorsbank, and Smartbroker. At Commerzbank, investors can invest in all funds traded on German stock exchanges, with various discounts on the issue surcharge. The savings plan starts at a rate of 25 euros. Consorsbank offers one-time investments in 840 ESG funds and savings plans for 218 funds. It starts with a rate of ten euros. 171 funds are available with a discount on the front-end load, 38 even free of charge. Smartbroker has 1019 funds in the offer, 780 of its savings plannable. There is all without expenditure impact. Investors do not pay depot costs with the three distinguished institutes.
The best custody accounts for sustainable ETFs are offered by Consorsbank, ING, Scalable Capital, Smartbroker, and the Trade Republic. Consorsbank offers the best price-performance ratio. Investors can choose from 247 ETFs, 209 of which are eligible for savings plans. Savings can be made from ten euros. The order fees amount to 0.25 percent of the investment sum plus 4.90 euros or between 9.95 and 69 euros.
Scalable Capital offers the broadest range with 450 ETFs, all of which are also savings plan-capable. “An investor who is not looking for a specific fund or ETF should make sure to choose a depot that offers a wider selection of tradable funds or ETFs,” said FMH expert Balke.
Consumer advocate Niels Nauhauser, however, is critical of the trend toward more and more ESG offerings. “Credit institutions, fund companies, and insurers are offering consumers an increasingly wide range of investments that are supposed to be sustainable,” says the expert from Verbraucherzentrale Baden-Württemberg. “But quite a few offers do not deliver what they promise.” A key problem, he says, is that sustainable investments have not yet been defined by law.
That’s partly because a single definition isn’t all that easy. “That’s why skepticism is warranted with all offers that are advertised as sustainable,” he said. “The risk of being misled by greenwashing and impact washing is high.” So investors need to look closely at funds and ETFs.
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First published in WiWo+, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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