The Big Exchange Fund Bundles (Pt 2)

Making a sacrifice? Not on The Big Exchange, thank you.

Melissa Gilmour
The Big Exchange
Published in
7 min readAug 2, 2021


In our last blog, we gave you an introduction to The Big Exchange Fund Bundles: what they are and why they exist.

If you missed it, you can find it here.

In this blog, we are seeking to go a little deeper into the Fund Bundles and give you more of a picture on how they are performing so far.


The Big Exchange launched to the public in October 2020, and part of what we offered was three fund baskets or bundles. The aim was to create an optimised group of funds for the Cautious, Balanced and Adventurous risk profiles people could independently choose from.

Inside these risk-rated fund bundles are individual funds which have been impact rated for their positive contribution to people and the planet.

In June 2021 our 3 risk-rated Fund Bundles marked their first anniversary and we consider they have got off to an encouraging start.

What were the results? We have seen double digit returns for all of our fund bundles!

We are able to show that in the first 12 months if you invested for positive social and environmental impact on The Big Exchange through our risk rated bundles, you would also have made a financial return over and above if you had invested the same amount in a best performing cash ISA.

In Chart 1 below we show the fund bundle performance for the year to 1 June 2021.

Chart 1: Bundle performance for The Big Exchange

Source: FE Analytics via Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research, total returns in GBP. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.

As its name suggests, the Adventurous Bundle takes the most risk and therefore opens itself up to the most opportunity for gain (and for loss). In this case, it showed the highest gains of all the bundles.

We are very pleased with the double-digit returns that the Fund Bundles have delivered over this time period, as all are ahead of their benchmarks. The Balanced Bundle is also ahead of its IA****** peer group whilst the Adventurous and Cautious bundles are slightly behind their peer groups (see Chart 3).

Last year (2020) proved to be a good year for funds that had a focus on sustainability, like those on The Big Exchange, as concerns over climate change and the many inequalities in society came to the fore increased investor appetite.

In 2021, however, some of these gains have been surrendered as a rebound in economic activity has led investors to favour cyclical stocks (known for following the cycles of an economy through expansion, peak, recession, and recovery), including oil and mining companies. We believe the long-term prospects for the oil sector remain uncertain as renewable energy sources increase their share of the market and governments and consumer demand force a transition to greener economies.

Saving, cash and inflation

As accounts on The Big Exchange are focused on ‘investment returns’ rather than ‘interest returns’, we think it’s important to show what would have happened if you had kept £500 in a top paying 3-year fixed cash ISA savings account versus investing it through a Fund Bundle on The Big Exchange. Please note that while money in a cash savings account is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, your capital invested on The Big Exchange is at risk as investments can go down as well as up.

Chart 2: £500 invested a year ago on The Big Exchange

Source: FE Analytics via Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research, total returns in GBP. Money Saving Expert Best Cash ISA* as at 16/06/2021 ( Past performance is not indicative of future results

As we can see in Chart 2 above, the returns for cash savers in the top paying 3-year cash ISA have been very disappointing against an economic background of very low interest rates. Some people might not mind this as it’s a less risky way of saving but often don’t factor in the effects of inflation when making this decision. What is Inflation exactly? It’s a decrease in the purchasing power of money, reflected in a general increase in the prices of goods and services in an economy. The Bank of England expects inflation to rise in the months ahead whilst the UK Consumer Prices Index, including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), rose by 2.1% in the 12 months to May 2021, up from 1.6% to April.

This means that any savings you did keep in cash would have bought you less goods and services today than a year ago.

Again, we reiterate, while the performance of our bundles against benchmarks such as cash savings has been robust so far, we must remind everyone that investing is for the long term and that we cannot predict the future and past performance is not indicative of future results.

Good news for people wanting to make their money count for more

A proportion of our customers have never invested before and have moved cash savings into accounts because they wanted to help us create a better world as well as aim to grow their money. For that reason alone, it’s encouraging to be able to show the results of our mission so far. That we were able to help make money count for more.

How are the fund bundles reviewed?

These fund bundles discussed were approved by our Investment Committee on June 1st 2020 in partnership with Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research.

By its nature, looking at investment performance is relative. Therefore, our Investment Committee analyses the Fund Bundles against comparable alternatives (benchmarks) to help us understand how your money could have been used if it were invested in similar types of investment, taking a similar level of risk elsewhere. It helps put the performance of each bundle into a wider context. To do this they compare each bundle against 2 different benchmarks:

  • an internally constructed benchmark of Global Equity indices and Global Bonds indices made up to reflect a match of the fixed income to equity ratio of each bundle, and;
  • the Investment Association (IA)****** sector benchmarks. The IA publishes sectors’ performance for a number of different investment types and mixes of investments. (The number at the end in Chart 1 below refers to the percentage of equity (or share) in the benchmark). For us:
  • the Cautious Bundle is comparable to the IA Mixed Investment 20–60%
  • the Balanced Bundle is comparable to the IA Mixed Investment 40–85%
  • the Adventurous Bundle is comparable to the IA Global (100%)

Chart 3:The Big Exchange Bundle Performance compared to peer and benchmark

A financial decision as well as an ethical one

While we hope to see a future where we live more sustainably, with less social inequality, and have moved towards a low carbon economy (among many other things) quickly, financial inclusion is also important to us. A future where everyone can benefit from the successes of others.

But it is as important for us, as part of our mission for financial inclusion, that when investing on The Big Exchange it is a financial decision as well as an ethical one for our customers.

We will keep you updated on our Fund Bundles as they build a track record, and we hope to continue to be able to demonstrate that financial returns do not need to be sacrificed when you decide to become a positive impact investor.

Finally, a good result for us is a good result for all, as it will encourage everyone to be open to investing with a positive impact in mind, with an aim for benefits for people and planet as well as themselves.

Ready to open an ISA on The Big Exchange? Go to

Follow The Big Exchange on Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook. Past performance is not be indicative of future results. Please remember that when investing, making money is not guaranteed and your capital is at risk. The value of your fund can go down as well as up. Tax treatment depends on an individual’s circumstances and may be subject to change.

The Big Exchange (TBF) Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Big Exchange Limited. The Big Exchange (TBF) Limited is an Appointed Representative of Resolution Compliance Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 574048). 5878

* Best 3 year fixed cash ISA taken as at 16 June 2021 from (0.95%)

**All fund performance as at 1st June 2021. Performance has the fund charges removed but is not net of the 0.25% per annum Big Exchange platform fee.

*** All income is reinvested

**** All performance data is sourced from FE Analytics via Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research as at 1st June 2021.

***** Fund Bundles are not managed portfolios and are not rebalanced. Fund Bundles are groups of individuals funds and as such, depending on individual fund performance, the risk of your bundle may change over time.

****** The Investment Association (IA) is the trade body for UK investment managers and classifies funds into IA sectors to help investors compare those with similar strategies.

******* (Bank of England expects inflation to rise)