The role of the investment advisor is rapidly evolving, with more and more clients looking for guidance on how to give money away and not just how to make it.
“At one time advisors didn’t think it was their responsibility to give money away,” says Marvin Ricker, vice president and managing director of philanthropic services for BMO Harris Private Banking. “But people with significant money are looking to advisors for help on everything – not just growing the money – but using it well, and helping them to be good citizens.”
The numbers reflect the surge in interest among those looking to make charitable donations.
According to the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, 41,000 Canadians made over 50,900 donations to some 7,500 eligible charities in 2014, representing a 22 per cent increase in the number donations from the previous year.
Those numbers represented an 18 per cent increase in the number of Canadians donating, with 20 per cent more charities receiving those donations.
And the opportunities are out there to reach out to clients to help them to increase their charitable donations.
According to research conducted by the Philanthropic Foundations Canada, 91 per cent of high net worth individuals are donors – but more than 80 per cent report that their total donations are under $10,000 – representing less than 1 per cent of investable/available assets.
For Ricker, those high net worth clients are in need of advice to better direct their charitable donations, and that builds a strong, personal bond with the client.
“I find when I work with my clients, it becomes a very personal relationship when I work with them,” she says. “I see them in their vulnerable moments – it is a personal activity, not a business transaction. So when you make that personal connection, it makes for a strong bond.”