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Adviser Shift in Talking ‘Philanthropy’ – Study

22 March 2016 at 8:41 am
Lina Caneva
Financial advisers aren’t talking about philanthropy with their wealthy clients as much as they used to, according to longitudinal research from the Queensland University of Technology.

Lina Caneva | 22 March 2016 at 8:41 am


Adviser Shift in Talking ‘Philanthropy’ – Study
22 March 2016 at 8:41 am

Financial advisers aren’t talking about philanthropy with their wealthy clients as much as they used to, according to longitudinal research from the Queensland University of Technology.

Professional advisers in finance, wealth management, law, accounting, taxation and estate management have been questioned since 2002 on their views and experiences around client and personal philanthropy by researchers from QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS).

Overall, the results of the 2015/16 study suggested a slight shift away from advising affluent clients on philanthropic matters.

The research also highlighted some perceived lack of organisational and professional association support and the feeling of many advisers that they do not have the expertise to advise in this area.

The researchers, Marie Crittall, Dr Wendy Scaife and Stephanie Boldeman, said the results provided thought fodder for advisers, their organisations and sector bodies.

They said there is evidence of more discussion in Australia on expanding the ways people can give, spurred by initiatives such as the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership focused on more and better giving.

“There is also active work afoot by Philanthropy Australia to instigate a course to assist advisers interested in better identifying and serving philanthropically inclined clients. Thus this fourth survey in our series is set against a changing philanthropy backdrop. However, the overriding sense is little has changed since the preceding survey in 2008,” they said.

Some of the findings include:

  • Similar to previous years, most advisers reported discussing philanthropy with less than 10 per cent of their high-net-worth (HNW) clients.
  • A slight gender difference emerged with female advisers seemingly more open and interested than male advisers to approach this subject.
  • A little more than one-quarter of advisers have personally developed a philanthropic strategy for at least one HNW client, while nearly one-third of all advisers surveyed do not expect the topic to arise.
  • When philanthropy is discussed, advisers tend to mention the topic first.

Some measures are slightly down from the last survey in 2008:

  • Slightly fewer advisers see philanthropy positively, believe it adds to quality of life and personally can afford to be philanthropic.
  • The desire to discuss philanthropy with affluent clients is slightly dampened and slightly more concern is evident about such a conversation affecting the client relationship.
  • One in five advisers report discussing philanthropy from the beginning of the relationship with the client.
  • A slight increase is evident in advisers not feeling well informed about their clients’ philanthropic activities and interests, with around half of advisers reporting this.
  • Only a small percentage (4 per cent of female advisers and 5 per cent of male advisers) feel well informed about providing philanthropic assistance.

The research said the results were mixed when it came to the support from the advisers’ organisations and professional associations. Most advisers felt that they do not have support from their professional association to discuss philanthropy. Conversely, only 39 per cent reported not receiving assistance in the form of resources, information and other support from the professional association.

Around 60 per cent of all advisers indicated that it was difficult to find experts on this topic in their organisation.

One-third of advisers indicated that discussing philanthropy is accepted in their organisation but this has decreased from more than 40 per cent in 2008. Furthermore, around 30 per cent of advisers reported no real support for advisers wanting to discuss philanthropy (compared to 22 per cent in 2008).

As with previous years, the research found that the major constraint identified in providing philanthropic advice was around being unsure how best to advise in this area. Information packs or guides were highlighted as the most useful type of resource and most advisers wanted these to focus on options for philanthropic structures.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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