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Social Impact a Priority for World’s Wealthiest

17 July 2014 at 9:43 am
Staff Reporter
Making a positive impact on society through thoughtful investments of time, money, or expertise ranks highly among the world’s wealthiest according to a new global report.

Staff Reporter | 17 July 2014 at 9:43 am


Social Impact a Priority for World’s Wealthiest
17 July 2014 at 9:43 am

Making a positive impact on society through thoughtful investments of time, money, or expertise ranks highly among the world’s wealthiest according to a new global report.

The 2014 World Wealth Report by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management examines the priorities, and drivers and causes that motivate high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in 25 countries, including Australia.

The report found that while 92 per cent ascribe some level of importance to driving social impact, it is either extremely or very important to more than 60 per cent of HNWIs worldwide.

In the scale of the world’s wealthiest Australia ranks nineth on the list. More than half (59.9 per cent) of the world’s HNWIs are in the US, Japan, Germany and China.

While HNWIs in all countries surveyed place strong emphasis on driving social impact, those in emerging markets, especially Asia-Pacific, regard it most highly. India had the highest proportion of HNWIs who view driving social impact as either extremely or very important (90.5 per cent), followed closely by China (89.4 per cent) and Indonesia (89.2 per cent). Hong Kong (82.1 per cent) and Malaysia (81.1 per cent) round out the top five.

However, the importance of social impact for HNWIs saw Australia ranked 20 out of 25 countries. Only 17 per cent of Australia HNWIs saw the importance of social impact as extremely import and a further 30 per cent saw it as very important.

The report found that HNWIs employ a number of mechanisms as they strive to meet their social impact goals. These range from charitable giving and volunteering, to investment and business decision-making with social good in mind.

“Notwithstanding the fact that no single mechanism stood out, it is worthwhile to note that making investment choices with a clearly defined objective to create positive social impact, was rated as the most important, beating out the more commonly accepted mechanisms of charitable donations and volunteering, suggesting a trend that HNWIs are increasingly venturing beyond traditional conduits to fulfill their social impact goals,” the report said.

“While their methods do not follow a discernible trend at the global level, there are indications that generational preferences are beginning to play a role in how HNWIs achieve social impact.”

The causes that are important for global HNWIs are health (33.3 per cent) followed by education (32.2 per cent ) and the welfare of children (32.1 per cent)While the desire to make a positive social impact cuts across all wealth segments, emphasis on it correlates with wealth level.

More HNWIs between $US10 million and $US20 million rate it as extremely or very important (74.3 per cent), compared to those with between $US5 million and $US10 million (68.5 per cent) and those with more than $US20 million (62.0 per cent). At 57.9 per cent, HNWIs with the least wealth (between $US1 million and $US5 million) are slightly below the global average.

The report found that age plays a strong role in the desire of HNWIs to strive for social good.

While 75 per cent of those under 40 cite driving social impact as either extremely important or very important, the tendency declines about 10 per cent with each age segment, reaching a low of 45.4 per cent for those 60 and older.

The report found that values play a large role in driving HNWIs’ socially conscious activities.

The desire to be true to personal or family values and to instill those values in their children top the list of HNWI motivations, with 87.5 per cent and 80.9 per cent of HNWIs, respectively, stating those drivers as important.

The report said this finding underscores a key concern of older, wealthier HNWIs: that the next generation has the maturity and social values to adequately manage significant inherited wealth.

A feeling of responsibility to give back is important for 76.5 per cent of HNWIs. Among the wide range of factors that motivate HNWIs to target making a social impact, personal and family values are the most important, especially for HNWIs in North America and Latin America (90.7 per cent and 88.6 per cent, respectively), as well as for those in higher age brackets and wealth segments.

The report found that another method to create social impact are to volunteer time (13.8 per cent) and professional knowledge (12.7 per cent).

The report said the tendency of younger HNWIs to volunteer is consistent with the observation of a number of firm executives that younger HNWIs are looking to be more hands-on, while those more than 60 are more likely to focus on more traditional methods, such as charitable giving or donations made to acquire naming rights.

The report can be downloaded HERE (free registration required).

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