About 3D Investing

The whys, whats and hows of 3D investing

The 3D Investing Approach

3D Investing is a distinctive investment approach that seeks to maximise social impact, to minimise ethical compromise and to deliver on financial expectations.  It is an evidence based approach that analyses the constituent holdings of each and every investment, so that investors can be confident that their money is being used in a way that really does make a social difference whilst meeting their financial needs. The evidence-based approach means that, not only can investors be assured of successful financial outcomes, but they can be equally confident in maximising the social impact of their portfolio. Too many ethical portfolios invest in companies that investors would find unacceptable if only they knew, and the social impact is often tokenistic. 3D investing involves a fully transparent process, making any compromises clear and seeking to maximise social impact and to inspire investors.

Download '3D Investing Executive Summary'

What’s different about 3D Investing?

Ethical or socially responsible investment portfolios often sound great in theory, with pictures of wind turbines and someone to look after your money so you can sleep easily at night, but the reality is sometimes disappointing.  3D investing is very different to this:

3D Investing measures how much of each fund is invested in social solutions

3D Investing seeks to maximise social impact, not just financial returns

3D Investing is all about long term investment, not short term trading

3D Investing highlights areas of concern so that investors are aware of any compromises

3D Investing aims to inspire investors about what their money can achieve

Read more about what make's 3D Investing special

An image of a wind turbine doesn’t mean a fund is ‘green’

Investment Rationale

3D Investing is based on a wide range of assets that allow the design of a diversified portfolio for differing levels of risk. The mainstay of 3D Investing is funds, as these benefit from a high level of management expertise, are well diversified and their performance can be readily monitored.  However, there is also merit in using carefully chosen equities to supplement income and to tailor portfolios to investor needs.  Impact investments can also provide a ‘cutting edge’ by focusing on high social returns, whilst social infrastructure funds benefit from predictable, long-term revenue streams.

Find out more
  • Ethical/Sustainable

  • Environmental

  • Clean Energy

  • Social Property

  • Healthcare

  • Microfinance

  • Other

Investment Performance


The objective of 3D investing is to deliver financial returns commensurate with investor expectations whilst maximising social impact and minimising ethical compromise. This means that the objective is to achieve financial returns in line with, or better than, benchmark returns for each asset class, and without taking excess risk. By their very nature, ethically screened or thematic funds won’t hug more general indices and will experience times when they under or over perform the index. This is to be expected, but over the longer term (> 5 years), we would expect performance to be in line with comparable indices. Consideration is also taken of absolute performance, consistency and volatility, the overall aim being to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Check 3D fund financial ratings

3D Investing methodology

Each stock in the universe has to apply some form of ethical screening, sustainability criteria or to be classified under one of our social or environmental themes. Before conducting detailed research, we compile a shortlist of funds and stocks. This is based on a set of carefully chosen, objective criteria. Some criteria apply to all funds and others are specific to a given asset class. Not all of the criteria need necessarily be met, but there has to be a compensating reason for inclusion if the target is not achieved.  Once funds have been selected for the shortlist, they undergo more extensive due diligence. This involves rigorous analysis of the underlying portfolios, typically rechecking the underlying portfolios as for the short-listing and then doing additional analysis.

Discover more about the 3D analysis process

3D Investing Selections

3d portfolio cover

 The 3D Balanced Growth Portfolio illustrates the sort of growth portfolio that third party managers and advisers might run under the 3D investment philosophy.

Download 3d Growth Portfolio Profile
3d100 page 1

The 3D 100 is our selection of 100 shares that make an important contribution to a more sustainable world whilst offering the prospect of fair risk adjusted returns.

Download 3d 100 - 2014 Report
balanced income profile

The 3D Balanced Income Portfolio illustrates the sort of income portfolio that third party managers and advisers might run under the 3D investment philosophy.

Download 3d Income Portfolio Profile

Thanks for visiting!

The information in this website is aimed at UK Investment Professionals (i.e. regulated firms) only. Any persons who do not fall within the definition of Investment Professional should not use or rely on the information in this website and should seek professional advice regarding their investments.