At the recent STEP Special Interest Spotlight event, I was delighted to be in a room full of private client advisors who had all signed up for the breakfast session on philanthropy. The session was titled: The Importance of Integrating Philanthropy into your Practice. It was chaired by Suzanne Reisman, who brought an enviable amount of energy and enthusiasm to the early morning slot.
My five take-away points from the speakers and discussions were:
1. People’s concerns about tax is an opportunity to talk about philanthropy.
2. There is an opportunity to raise the topic of giving when drafting a will.
3. Discussing philanthropy deepens relationships.
4. Philanthropy is a topic that can bridge the gap between older and younger generations.
5. Clients want to know that advisors empathise with their values and principles.
And of course, I was in happy agreement with Suzanne’s motto that “philanthropy is always the answer”.
There was one challenge from the floor, proposing that it is not the advisor’s role to raise the topic of philanthropy and that clients will know whether giving is something they wish to participate in, or not, without any prompting. (Research from the US suggests otherwise: for example, the US Trust’s study found that high net worth clients wanted the subject of philanthropy to be brought up early in the advisor/client relationship). But generally, I went away heartened that there are private client advisors who see discussing philanthropy as part of their role.