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More Professional Advisors Talking Philanthropy

20 July 2006 at 1:07 pm
Staff Reporter
There’s been a marked increase in the number of professional advisors actively providing philanthropic strategies to their affluent clients according to a study by QUT’s Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies.

Staff Reporter | 20 July 2006 at 1:07 pm


More Professional Advisors Talking Philanthropy
20 July 2006 at 1:07 pm

There’s been a marked increase in the number of professional advisors actively providing philanthropic strategies to their affluent clients according to a recent study by QUT’s Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (CPNS).

The CPNS study of Australian professional advisors of high net worth clients suggests that Australia no longer lags behind the UK and the US in the provision of advice about philanthropy.

Since the CPNS’ 2002 study, findings show a marked increase in interest to provide philanthropic advice among a group of Australian advisers now actively providing philanthropic strategies to their affluent clients.

The study of 115 financial advisors, accountants, financial planners and estate and family lawyers investigated attitudes and behaviour relating to advising high net worth individuals1 about philanthropy. Of interest was whether Australian advisor attitudes and behaviours were changing and, if so, how and to what extent.

Although, there is a sizeable group of advisors who resist assisting clients with services in this area, overall the study saw a shift in the willingness of Australian advisors generally to assist clients fulfil their philanthropic interests.

In 2002, 14% of Australian advisors reported helping their high net worth clients with philanthropy, with the overwhelming majority (86%) saying they did not.

In 2005, approximately half of all participants reported providing philanthropic strategies for interested clients (44%), and half reported that they did not (46%).

Two main types of advisor emerge from the findings: the active advisor and the passive advisor.

Active Advisor. On one hand, advisers who report actively assisting clients with philanthropic strategies were more likely to be motivated by a vision of client service that embraced philanthropic advice and were less held back by concerns that such advice falls outside their professional role.

Passive Advisor. On the other hand, advisors who did not actively assist clients with philanthropic strategies were less willing to ask clients if they had any involvement or interest in giving and rarely discussed the topic with clients. They were more likely to identify barriers to the provision of such advice as important and were more likely to feel unsure about how to provide advice to clients about it.

Overall, two key resources that advisors would find useful were (1) an overview of philanthropic options and (2) case studies where a client’s needs were matched to philanthropic solutions. There was mixed support for one-on-one advice and regular updates.

CPNS says this study represents a significant step forward in understanding the perspective of Australian advisers, and how they vary in seeking to assist the affluent contribute to ‘the common good’.

For a full report, order forms available at

If you would like to be involved in the next study, please contact Dr Kym Madden on

In Victoria, Melbourne Community Foundation has initiated a “Professional Advisors Campaign” to inform and educate financial advisors, accountants and lawyers about the tax advantages of philanthropic giving and community foundations. The information is highlighted on MCF’s website.

For more information and a Fact Sheet go to

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