I’ve been using the CIRCA5000 since the start of 2021 and I’m here to give you my verdict so far on this ethical investment app.
The reason that CIRCA5000 is ethical is that it allows you to invest your money into good causes and improve your finances at the same time. No, this isn’t too good to be true, it’s called impact investing.
Since I’ve been using the app, I’ve found it simple to use and I’ve enjoyed contributing to companies in funds such as global clean energy and sustainable food. My return on investment so far is about even, which given the current state of the markets is not too bad.
This CIRCA5000 review will explain all you need to know about the company, how they operate,where your money goes and what you can achieve with them. We’ll also take a look at impact investing as a whole and wrap up this CIRCA 5000 review.
Disclaimer: This article is not a sponsored post by CIRCA5000 (formally tickr). I am a signed up user of the CIRCA5000 app, so I can speak from experience. Thanks goes to CIRCA5000 and their Impact Specialist Charlie Macpherson for providing detailed answers to the many questions I sent over as I was putting this article together. I am not a financial expert and this is not financial advise. All information and content in this post aims to be informational only for you the reader.
What’s impact investing in a nutshell?
CIRCA 5000 help you to get involved in impact investing. So what is this exactly?
Impact investing is a form of ethical investing that has two core principles:
- To make a return on investment over time
- By only investing in businesses that plan to have a significantly positive impact on people and the planet
Impact investing is growing in popularity, particularly with the young investors. People care about the future of our planet and environment and want to invest accordingly. In October 2022, it was reported that impact investment funds broke through the $1 trillion barrier.
You can read my full blog on what is impact investing here.
Like all good companies, CIRCA5000 have taken a good idea and made it simple, sustainable and accessible. Practicing what they preach, CIRCA5000 are also a Certified B Corp – a for-profit business whose co-goal is to be a force for good.
What is CIRCA 5000?
CIRCA5000 is an impact investment platform built with the next generation of investors in mind. It’s the world’s first impact investment app.
It allows both eco conscious and socially responsible people to invest in good causes from an easy-to-use mobile app. It’s tailor made for long term investment into companies that are building a brighter and more sustainable future.
The difference between CIRCA5000 and other investment platforms is that it is solely focussed on impact investing – a form of ethical investing that allows you to grow your money, stay strong to your values and have a world benefitting impact.
If you’re wondering about security credentials, CIRCA5000 is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and are FSCS protected up to a limit of £85,000.
CIRCA 5000 have been through the rigorous process to become a Certified B Corp, meaning they reach the highest standards of environmental and social practices, as well as transparency and governance.
Becoming a B Corp is the pinnacle of a sustainable business. This should assure you that CIRCA5000 really do have their heart (and business) in the right place.
Who founded CIRCA5000?
CIRCA5000 was founded by Matt Latham and Tom McGillycuddy in 2018. Until September 2021, they went by the name tickr, which is what they were called when I first started investing with them.
Both Matt and Tom had been working in the investment world for a number of years and had become dismayed at how unnecessarily complex everything was.
This fuelled their mission to simplify investing and open it up to ordinary people, whilst at the same time becoming a force for positive change.
The result was the world’s first impact investment platform aimed at young, first time investors.
CIRCA 5000 review: How does the app work?
CIRCA5000 allows users to invest in companies that are intentionally benefiting the planet and society.
Depending on your situation, you can choose to have your account as a Stocks and Shares ISA (the most common), a General Investing Account (GIA) or a Junior ISA.
They have numerous investment portfolios bundled into three main themes to make it nice and simple for the investor to choose a category most important to them.
3 portfolio themes
The three portfolio themes that CIRCA5000 groups up for you are:
- People & Planet
Under each of these themes sit a number of sub-themes, which have a different impact focus or alignment with one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
For example, the CIRCA5000 app makes it possible to invest in education, healthcare and cybersecurity (which all sit under the People theme), renewable energy, clean water and sustainable food production (which sit under Planet) or a combination of them all through the People & Planet theme.
CIRCA 5000 have big plans for the future, including the launch of their very own ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), offer a pension product and a Lifetime ISA.
Choose your investment risk
Once you’ve decided your theme, you then have to decide how much risk you want to take: cautious, balanced or adventurous.
With investments there is always risk involved with your money. Theoretically, the more risk you take, the higher the potential reward, but also the higher the potential loss. So do weigh this up carefully.
For my own personal portfolio with CIRCA5000, I’ve gone with the Planet theme and the adventurous risk.
Investing with the CIRCA5000 app
Once you have the basics set up, you can decide to top up your pot with regular or one-off payments. Every week, CIRCA5000 will take the money sitting in your pot and invest it across the different sub-themes from your category.
This gives you a broad exposure to many different companies, which not only helps you to have a positive impact all over the world, but diversifies your risk too.
CIRCA 5000 work with various external partners and fund providers to try and give you the best investment solutions.
A subtle difference to note is that CIRCA5000 isn’t a trading platform, it’s an investment platform geared up to create complete portfolios for long term investors.
This means you can’t invest into specific companies. However, in the interest of transparency, CIRCA5000 do provide information to show which companies are in their portfolios.
New for 2022: Custom Portfolios with CIRCA5000
It’s now possible to have a bit more control over your pre-built investment portfolios with CIRCA 5000.
The custom portfolios option allows you to set the percentages you want to invest across the different areas within your chosen portfolio.
For example, with my Plant theme portfolio I’m currently allocated around 32% with ‘global clean energy’ and 30% to ‘Clean Water’ stocks.
With custom portfolios I can now increase or decrease this allocation, which would involve adjusting one of my other assets, such as ‘Global Clean Energy’ or ‘Sustainable Future of Food’.
The whole idea is to give you more control over your assets and where your money is being invested, which is great.
CIRCA5000’s carbon offsetting option
Alongside impact investing, CIRCA5000 also allow users to offset their carbon footprint with a monthly subscription plan.
With the subscription money, CIRCA5000 purchase credits to support accredited projects across the world working to reduce and remove carbon emissions.
These can take various forms, including tree planting projects, renewable energy sources and supporting communities as they convert to more sustainable practices.
CIRCA5000 has three carbon offsetting options:
- Carbon Neutral – offset 100% of the average UK citizen’s monthly emissions
- Climate Positive – offset double the UK average emissions
- Climate Hero – offset four times the UK average emissions
This is similar in a way to what Ecologi offer and what I already do with them, so I can’t review this fully here. You can have a read of my Ecologi review here.
Advantages of CIRCA 5000 for first time investors
Founders Tom and Matt saw impact investing as an exclusive club open only to big institutions and experienced investors. They wanted to address this and make impact investing simple and accessible to everyone.
Like me, most of the people signed up to CIRCA5000 have limited investing experience. Not a problem. The major advantage for first time investors is that CIRCA5000 is built exactly with you in mind.
Education plays an important part of the investment mission for CIRCA5000. They have published a great document, ‘Investing without the BS’, they have a series of podcast episodes and also publish a short 3 minute impact investing update every week called Climate and Capital, available through their app.
A key part of their education is the important message that impact investment, and investing in general, is a long term approach. It is not a get rich quick scheme.
People who are able to save a little each month have the best chance of riding out the short term fluctuations and benefitting over the long term.
Making a difference with little effort
A big advantage for me as a beginner investor is that CIRCA5000 offers a great, innovative service that is pro-actively aiming to have a positive difference on the world.
I don’t have the time or inclination to research every potential company that could have a positive impact on the environment or society, this is where CIRCA5000’s themed portfolios come in really useful.
Many of the traditional investment firms, such as Blackrock, do have good ethical funds. But they also have some of the worst funds from an environmental and social perspective. Personally, this doesn’t sit right with me and I’d much rather work with a genuinely ethical company.
CIRCA 5000 is a new, independent, growing company that want to be at the forefront of setting new industry standards. They’re streamlined and flexible which allows them to make good, quick decisions.
They also told me that they have big ambitions to expand and enhance their range of ethical services and products in the near future.
Is CIRCA5000 the easiest way to get into impact investing?
I’m no expert, but CIRCA5000 have a number of things going in their favour.
They’ve created the world’s first impact investment app that is purpose built for first time investors.
Having used the app, it’s user friendly, offers a good experience and does exactly what it sets out to achieve – help people to make impact investments from the palm of your hand.
That being said, you should always do your own homework and research first before you invest.
If you want to have a look around, head over to CIRCA5000 here* where you will then get an invite to download the app. Note, this is my referral link, and if you should go on to sign up we’ll both get a £15 reward and two trees planted for us.
Is CIRCA 5000 safe?
Yes, CIRCA5000 is as safe as any other investment organisation or even bank. The main crux is that, as with all investing, your money is at risk and can go down as well as up.
Once invested, your money is handled by professionals and invested accordingly.
CIRCA 5000 are a limited company and registered in London. They are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
As CIRCA5000 handles investments, your money is not FSCS protected, unlike a current account with a bank for example.
Certified B Corp impact investment app
I asked CIRCA5000 how important it was for them to become a Certified B Corporation. Charlie Macpherson, Impact Specialist at CIRCA5000 , told me:
“Gaining B Corp status was a huge milestone for us as it codifies why CIRCA5000 exists and how we approach everything we do – from the funds we offer, to how we run the business. It’s a big commitment, and we love it.”
Becoming a Certified B Corp means CIRCA5000 have sustainability at their core and meet the highest environmental and social standards – and will continue to do so in the future. They become certified with a score of 117 out of 200, which is a genuinely excellent score.
Being a young company, it’s impressive they’ve achieved this status so quickly. Businesses have to have at least a year’s worth of filing history to be eligible to apply to B Lab, the independent company who certify budding B Corps.
CIRCA5000 Impact Specialist Charlie continued:
“In fact, CIRCA5000 was founded with becoming a B Corp in mind.“
“Receiving B Corp status shows our customers that we are what we say we are, and that we’re true to our values. We often get feedback from customers that they love finding out we’re a B Corp and that it helped them develop trust in us when looking for a company to support them on their journey into investing.”
Wrap up on CIRCA5000 review
If you’re a beginner investor looking to get involved in impact investing, CIRCA 5000 is one of the best places to start.
Their investment platform gives you easy access to support the good causes of the world and companies of the future, whilst helping you to grow your own finances. As I’m not an expert, please do your own homework and remember that impact investment should be a long term tactic.
Many thanks to CIRCA 5000 and Charlie Macpherson for their cooperation and information, and for opening up the exciting world of impact investment for both you and me.
If you like the sound of CIRCA5000, visit the CIRCA5000 website here – by using this link you’ll get a £15 reward and two trees planted on your behalf if you go on to create an account.
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Ben is the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home.
Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.