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Investing for children

Making ethical investments for children is a way to introduce them to a new way of thinking at an early age.

Children under 18 have a limited choice of Ethex businesses they can invest in directly. However, an adult can invest in most Ethex businesses on behalf of a child. 

Charity Bank, Triodos Bank and Bristol Credit Union offer savings accounts open to children and young savers aged under 16 years. At 16, he or she can then decide to continue to save in a different account, or to use the money in other ways.

Making ethical investments for children is a way to introduce them to a new way of thinking at an early age.

Bristol Credit Union offers two accounts for children. As long as the child was born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, you can deposit up to £3,600 a year into the Child Trust Fund Account and the child will receive all income tax free; and the Money Munchers’ Account offers a free money box and gifts if you save often enough. They will also soon be opening a Teensavers account for those aged 13 years and over.

Children of any age can also set up an account in their own name with the Ecology Building Society. However if the child is not confident to manage the account on their own, or cannot sign their name consistently, it may be better to choose a person such as a parent or grandparent as the account holder and to name the child as the beneficiary.

If an adult is given as the account holder, Ecology would need to undertake checks on the adult and the child’s birth certificate would have to be provided to show the link to the child. If you open the account in the child’s own name, Ecology may need to see their birth certificate or passport and a letter with proof of address. However it is best to contact Ecology for precise details.

You have to be 16 to buy shares in a co-operative, and 18 to buy shares in a company. Alternatively, the investment can be held in the name of an adult until the child is 16 or 18, at which point it can be transferred into the child’s name.

All businesses offering shares on Ethex do accept applications from adults buying on behalf of children. However Oikocredit only takes applications from adults who are already Oikocredit investors, and asks that the child already has a bank account and signs the form in their name, countersigned by the adult.

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