FinancialNewsOCFSteve Marker, Financial Planner at Hansford Bell

New research published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has shown that two-thirds of wealthy clients surveyed would like more support from their trusted advisors, especially when it comes to understanding social causes – but that they expect this advice to be free or low cost.

The research study polled over 1,000 people in the UK with a minimum of £1 million in liquid assets, although the average wealth was £7.5 million. The results are published in a report entitled The Art of Adaptation: Why talking philanthropy transforms the adviser-client relationship (see the full report here).

Headline findings from the study are:

  • 39% of wealthy individuals have sought the help of a trusted advisor when planning their giving strategy
  • Two-thirds of those surveyed felt that professional advisors could do more to provide philanthropy expertise
  • 73% believed this should be a free or low-cost service
  • Those who did take advice gave 1.8 times more to charity that those who didn’t
  • Respondents gave themselves a satisfaction rating of 6.9 out of 10 for their own philanthropy strategy

When asked about the areas of philanthropy advice that were most important to them (and in which they would like to see more support), the top themes were:

  • Tax planning
  • Understanding causes and needs
  • Monitoring impact

The figures back up findings earlier this year by Forbes and BNP Paribas that after family (51%), the most often consulted resources for help with giving are philanthropy advisors/agencies (39%) and external experts in the area of focus (37%).

The CAF report suggests that fulfilling client demands in the philanthropy area can be challenging, especially where fees might not be forthcoming – but that the benefits in terms of client relationship-building make the effort of advisors’ part worthwhile: “Those who take philanthropy advice commit significant resources to their philanthropy, which in its own right creates wealth planning and management opportunities”, says the report. “The challenge for professional advisors, of course, is that the body of knowledge relating to philanthropy is potentially unlimited.”

“Delivering quality advice across this spectrum would be a Sisyphean task for any organisation. […] Some will then offer additional support on strategic philanthropy by helping their clients to access networks of other funders, experts or organisations”.

The report demonstrates that in addition to advice on structuring and succession planning, clients are keen to access support in coming up with a personal giving strategy, and in understanding more about where their funds are going. It suggests that trusted advisors can seek help from philanthropy experts in order to pick up the baton and collaborate to achieve the most rounded solution for their clients.

Steve Marker, Chartered Financial Planner at Hansford Bell, has commented: “The service that community foundations offer is the perfect complement to my firm’s own services. It’s made such a difference to have a philanthropy expert on the team – and OCF make the whole process hassle-free and human for clients.”

Find out about how OCF partners with professional advisors to deliver philanthropy expertise to clients