The stock market is ever growing. With companies selling shares and investors buying them, it's a never-ending cycle.

When investors want to buy stocks, they usually purchase shares from a specific company or brand. Maybe even a product. A sensible investor spends weeks, or even months, searching for the best company to buy in to.

But what if you wanted to invest in something other than just a specific company? Is it possible to invest in particular categories? This is where Motif comes into play and we have collected all you need to know right here.


Motif Investing

Motif Investing is an online investing platform. But it's not like the ordinary stock screener. Motif has created its own unique system of investing.

It allows individuals to develop and invest in different portfolios. Each portfolio is a collection of about 30 stocks which all have one thing in common—a theme. How does it work and why do we need it? Let's find out.


About Motif Investing

Based in San Mateo, California, Motif Investing is changing the traditional, online stock market, little by little. It is combining everyday ideas with economic trends to make interesting investment portfolios.

Motif has created a social platform where investors get to search through various categories of stocks. Instead of buying individual stocks or ETFs (exchange-traded funds), you buy them as a themed collection, known as a motif.


What Is a Motif?

graph notebook motif investing

The motifs are all created based around current trends, themes or strategies. It simply lets you skip the hours of searching and instead takes you straight to your interests.

Some of the motifs have catchy names, like Bear International Market and Kings of K Street. Motif Investing also often adds new motifs that are inline with current events such as the World Cup.

This means your stocks are grouped together and kept organized within their specific category. No fumbling around from stock to stock any more.

 

Founder of Motif Investing

Motif Investing was founded by Hardeep Walia.

Hardeep Walia

Walia graduated from Yale University and he holds a BS in Economics and Engineering. His MBA comes from the Wharton School of Business. Fresh from college, Walia began his career at the Boston Consulting Group.

He went on to become director of corporate development and strategy at Microsoft. It was there he helped manage its investments and acquisitions. Walia later became general manager of Microsoft's enterprise services business.

Hardeep is an active member of the small-firm advisory board of the financial industry regulatory authority (FINRA). Here he serves on FINRA's technology advisory committee. He often contributes to FOX Business, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and Forbes.

When he created Motif Investing, Hardeep wanted to create something that would offer investors broad exposure to certain topics.


Investors

Every company or brand needs investors, and Motif is no different. There are several big-name investors listed on the Motif website. These include:

  • J.P Morgan.
  • Goldman Sachs.
  • Foundation Capital.
  • Balderton Capital.
  • Ignition.
  • Norwest.
  • Wicklow Capital.
  • RenRen.


Motif Investing has received $35 million in backing from J.P Morgan alone, along with $25 million from Goldman Sachs.


Services

Motif Investing is a social platform, so it only makes sense that it has a community forum. Here, all members can chat and discuss motifs and investments. You can even easily share your custom-made motifs.

Within the member’s community, you can also create private discussion groups for you and your investment partners. It could even be friends or family that have joined you on Motif.

Let’s take a look at the other services offered:


Trading Account

The trading account is the place to start with Motif.

The trading account is where you choose your favorite existing motif or even create your own customized version. Once you have found the motif you’d like to invest in, you can add or remove anything you desire. This will make the motif fit just for you.



Impact Portfolio

motif investing portfolio

Impact Portfolio is a fully-automated portfolio that combines your financial goals with your personal values. It shows you everything you own, so you can easily keep an eye on the status of your investments. A few key features of this portfolio are:

  • The investor gets to own stocks that represent five different assets.
  • It helps keep you aligned with your financial targets.
  • It considers your core values.

You get to invest in what you care about. Whether it's a sustainable planet or fair labor.

Furthermore, Motif Impact is all about diversification. It believes that spreading your funds across multiple asset classes lowers any risk.

This is compared to putting it all into one specific place. It all comes down to personal preferences, though. It also isn’t completely risk-free. While investing in a whole class of assets can lower risks, it all depends on performance.

Stock values go up and down all the time, so chances of every stock in your chosen motif going up, is rather small. What happens if the assets dive? Will you lose more than with a regular investment?

Motif Investing claims that even if you don’t receive the desired results, you don’t have to pay any extra fees.


Retirement and Non-Retirement Options 

Available for both the trading account and Impact Portfolio feature are two types of accounts. One of those is the retirement timeline.

This plan allows you to hold ETFs and bonds up until you retire. That means you make an initial investment but only reap your rewards once you retire. The retirement plan offers three forms of Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs):

  • Traditional IRAs.
  • Roth IRAs.
  • Rollover IRAs.

The non-retirement plan gives access to the following types of accounts:

  • Individual accounts.
  • Joint accounts.
  • Trust accounts.


IPO Account

Initial Public Offerings are the first sale of stocks by a company to the public.

If you are interested in investing in IPOs, Motif has you covered. You can sign up for a free account and get all the latest news about IPOs. Once you’re ready to make a purchase, simply place an order of no less than $250. Motif will notify you with more information.


Prices and Fees

Becoming a member of Motif isn’t as expensive as one might think. You can create an account for as little as $250. That may sound like a high price, yet in the long run it’s probably worth it.

The Impact portfolios have a minimum investment of $1,000, and if you want to trade on margins, the price will rise to around $2,000.

When you want to buy into any particular motif, there’s a $9.95 fee per trade. Keep in mind that each motif contains approximately 30 stocks.

Put this in comparison to a regular conventional brokerage firm—where you would have to buy the stocks individually which could add up to $300 or more.


New Motif Features

Motif wants to also create a unique portfolio for up-and-coming assets. Coming soon is ‘Cryptoassets’. Though not much information is available on the website, apart from a waiting list, we did do a little digging around for you.

Hardeep announced via Twitter that investors will be able to choose from hundreds of what he is calling cryptoassets. It’s a way for Motif Investing to let its customers include Bitcoins and other digital assets to their investment portfolios.

You can sign up now via its website and Motif will keep you updated in regards to any news or announcements.


Is Motif Investing a Legitimate Company?

coins inside a plant bottle

Motif Investing is a legitimate and safe brokerage company. It’s an active member of FINRA and SIPC—Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

SIPC provides the company with insurance coverage up to $500,000 and $250,000 in cash. Motif has further purchased additional insurance through a firm called London Underwriters. This insurance will be available when SIPC is maxed out.


Lesser-Known Features of Motif Investing

By now we have established that you can mix and match your own motif, but did you know that you can actually create a motif from scratch?

You may have a great idea for a motif that the company hasn’t already come up with. All you have to do is create your motif using the right bonds and ETFs. Then you can share it with other people, such as investment partners, on Motif.

Don’t forget to look for the ‘Royal Program’ where the creator of the new motif actually earns a commision every time someone invests in it. This feature also applies if you rebalance or add missing stocks to an already-made motif.


Who Should Use Motif Investing?

Not everyone is going to find Motif Investing beneficial, but there are some that definitely will.

  • People who are interested in buying fractional stocks or ETFs.
  • Those looking to invest in IPOs.
  • Impact or thematic investors.


Customer Service

A platform like Motif Investing is nothing without pleased customers. Therefore it’s important it keeps its customer service sharp.

You can get in touch with customer service either through email or over the phone. Motif Investing is usually quick to respond to any emails. You can easily reach a representative by phone Monday through Friday.



When trying to decide whether or not a service or product is right for you, creating a pros and cons list is always helpful.

Motif Investing has a lot of pros and cons to take note of. So in order to make it easier for you, we have created the ultimate pros and cons list right here:

PROS

  • You can mix and match your stocks and funds.
  • The concept is thematic and interesting.
  • Organize your investments into groups.
  • Royal Program enables you to actually earn money for creating a motif.
  • Low trading fee.
  • Easy to use.
  • Good customer service.
  • It has a straightforward user interface.
  • It’s easy to understand and explains each plan in detail.
  • Portfolios are created with your personal values in mind.

CONS

  • Nothing is free.
  • Doesn’t offer dividend reinvestments.
  • Difficulties with taxes.
  • It doesn’t offer trading for mutual funds.

As you can see, there are a few more pros than cons. Of course, you should make your own decision on whether or not you think this broker is for you.



What Are Others Saying?

business meeting

Motif Investing has received some glorifying reviews from several industry professionals.

Both CashCowCouple and FrugalRules gave the online broker a glowing five-star rating. Complimenting the company’s unique ideas and the fact that it has no hidden fees. FrugalRules said Motif Investing is a good option, especially for beginners.

InvestorJunkie also commented on the company’s interesting motif concept. Additionally, they like the versatility in general, as well as the customized Impact Portfolio. InvestorJunkie did, however, feel the service was a bit clumsy, but overall felt it worked just fine.

One thing to keep in mind is that all of these reviewers mentioned that there is no dividend re-investing available. If that is important to you, you may want to think twice.


Summing It Up

If one thing is clear, Motif Investing has something compelling and exciting to offer the world of investment. Unlike any other company, its motifs are surely the selling point here.

With more than 150 motifs, each one can contain up to 30 stocks or ETFs—making it wide-ranging yet specialized at the same time. One of the best things about the motifs is that each one has its own catchy name.

In order to view the motifs, one needs to only create an account at a relatively inexpensive cost of $9.95. Beware, however, if you’re looking for trade margins. It costs a steep minimum of $2,000 to get yourself an account, just for that purpose.

While the trading account is your standard plan of choice, the Impact Portfolio takes trading with motifs to another level.

Cryptoassets is the latest feature, soon to be offered by Motif, letting customers include digital assets in their portfolios. This is a progressive move.

Overall, Motif Investing has received glowing reviews. Before deciding whether or not to join Motif, make sure to do some research to find out whether it’s right for you. Hopefully, you received the answers to some of your questions by reading this article.