The role of wealth advisors in philanthropy

Over half of Europe’s trusted advisors believe that philanthropy will be a core service they offer to wealthy clients within five years.

Yet despite many advisors increasing their array of philanthropy services, and tapping into specialist third-party philanthropy partners for expertise, many clients are unaware of the services on offer. Alongside this, the majority of advisors feel inadequately trained to discuss philanthropy with their clients, and do so only on an ad hoc basis. As a result, advisors are missing out on the opportunity to meet their clients’ growing philanthropic needs.

The research was commissioned by NPC in partnership with wise and the Bertelsmann Stiftung. It was based on interviews with 100 private client advisors across Europe. The study follows research commissioned in June 2007 on the views of UHNW individuals—90% of whom believe that traditional wealth advisors do not meet their philanthropic needs.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Philanthropy services are regarded as most important to private banks and multi-family offices (MFOs), reflecting their desire to provide a holistic service. 100% of MFOs interviewed believe that philanthropy will be core to their business by 2013.
  • There are huge potential benefits for advisors, which are not just about increasing revenues. Offering philanthropic advice is seen as deepening client relationships over the long term and increasing the likelihood of client referrals.
  • There is significant evidence of growing client demand for philanthropy services in Europe: 63% of respondents receive more requests now than two years ago.
  • Private banks cited the problems associated with incentivising frontline staff as a reason that their philanthropy services are not well represented to clients. Alongside this, other key challenges are internal marketing and training. Only 50% of the private banks interviewed felt their front-line teams are well trained in the philanthropy offer.
  • 63% of advisors believe that the benefits of offering philanthropy services outweigh the drawbacks.

If you are interested in discussing the findings of the report, please contact Plum Lomax.

Irish survey

There is also a separate short report highlighting the views of the Irish participants in the survey. The key finding of this is that the Irish philanthropy advice market is significantly lagging behind the rest of Europe, despite the rise in wealth and the long tradition of giving in Ireland. Read the Irish report here.