How Pacific Life Lost Its Bet on Socially Minded Millennials

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

By Emily Chasan

In 2017, Pacific Life Insurance Co. introduced a socially conscious, online investing platform tailored to thirtysomethings eager to use their assets to make the world a better place. Those investors proved more expensive and rare than the company thought, and less than two years later, the venture is returning their money and shutting down.

The company, called Swell Investing, tweeted Wednesday that it will close August 30. In surveys, people in their 20s and 30s say they’re eager to invest in line with their values, but the short life of Swell suggests that the financial services industry has been wrong about how ready they are to do so — and how prudent it is to help them try.

“When we first set out to build Swell, our goal was to ensure that every dollar invested created a better world,” Dave Fanger, the former Pacific Life executive who founded Swell and was its CEO, said in a statement. It didn’t address the company’s demise but said the team would “collectively continue in some form on this mission.”

Photo courtesy of sallyjermain.

Source: Bloomberg (link opens in a new window)

ESG, impact investing, youth