The Giving Season - Barclays Discusses UK Philanthropy

Jackie Bennion Deputy Editor 29 November 2019

The Giving Season - Barclays Discusses UK Philanthropy

It's "a small market place with very few in-house advisors," is Emma Turner's assessment of the current advice market for giving in the UK. "However, if every private bank and wealth manager included it, more clients would be getting expertise, with the ultimate benefit of driving a greater culture of philanthropy in the UK," she told WealthBriefing as we delve deeper into the sector this month. As head of philanthropy at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, Turner and her team have released a Smart Giving guide, which looks at some of the data and security aspects of giving and how donors can "road test” charities in what has been a challenging fews years for the UK sector, at least, after a number of scandals. She explains where she sees donor engagement proving most fruitful, and what support those in a position to give can expect from a large bank.

In the jurisdictions that you operate in, what sort of trends do you see in terms of what causes people want to support and why? What causes/objectives seem to be gaining ground, staying the same, or losing some momentum?
The final decision about which issue to support will always rest with the client. One cause that often comes up in conversations is education. The annual Charities Aid Foundation UK Giving report gives an accurate breakdown of which areas are most likely to receive support.

Are you noticing differences in philanthropic goals/objectives depending on which countries people come from, their life experiences, whether they are self-made, inheritors, etc?
The adage ‘charity begins at home’ has particular resonance with all my clients, so local causes tend to receive the most support.  I think this is because people are increasingly aware of issues that need fixing closer to their own home. As my largest client base is from the UK, I tend to see a lot of support for British causes. Their giving is often determined by personal experience; passion and disappointment - which is a great mix when finding the best charity or charities to support. More and more clients from different backgrounds want to see the impact their money has on the problem the charity says it is helping to address.

When you talk to clients, in your experience is it the client or advisor who brings up philanthropy first? Is this changing? If it is the client, what do they often say? If it is the advisor, what does the advisor say?
I am always introduced to clients through our private bankers. In conversations with clients, they always present philanthropy as part of our overall offering.  If the client is interested, we set up a meeting to further discuss their giving aspirations. Overall, my role is to help our clients and their families take the relevant steps in their giving journey.

In your view what are the main added-value offerings that you can give to a client in helping their philanthropy goals? How has your organisation developed these in recent years (types of expertise, reporting, due diligence checks on charities, access, connections with the beneficiaries of the philanthropy, engagement of children, others)? Have you recruited more people to handle this work, invested in resources, etc?
The main value of our Philanthropy service is giving clients an understanding of what they need to know before they start their giving journey as well as helping them overcome potential obstacles along the way. Once they know the service exists, clients are grateful that we can provide the expertise to help them achieve their philanthropy goals.

Using client conversations and insights from across the sector, we have written two guides: the Guide to Giving and Future Giving (Next Gen 5-25), and organised several events for clients during the year so they could hear from well-known donors talking about their life and philanthropy. It’s important to note that we don’t recommend or promote specific charities or oversee the grant making. We give the client the tools to make these decisions themselves through our meetings, guides and events.  

To what extent is philanthropy now sitting inside a broader field of “environmental, social and governance (ESG)-focused activity, rather than as a standalone advisory line?
Our impact investing proposition offers the possibility of simultaneously generating returns and mitigating or addressing societal and environmental challenges. Both disciplines – impact investing and philanthropy – sit separately within the business and our philanthropy service works closely with our private bankers when additional investing information is required.

How do you think firms should position the philanthropy offering? Should it be a core offering, or an add-on? Should firms charge separately for philanthropy advice and support, or include it in an overall fee?
I think that depends on the firm and its appetite for this. Philanthropy services can be provided in house or outsourced. Ours is a free core offering within our overall proposition.

In what ways can private banks, wealth managers and other advisors to HNW individuals use philanthropy expertise and support as a business differentiator?
Currently this is a small marketplace with very few in-house advisors, so the differentiation for our business is easy to determine and amplify. However, if every private bank and wealth manager included this in their offering, more clients would be getting expertise, with the ultimate benefit of driving a greater culture of philanthropy in the UK.

We have seen that philanthropy sometimes does not shield a client from reputational problems and that giving money to “good causes” can sometimes backfire. How should philanthropy sit alongside the work of protecting clients’ reputations?
Every wealthy individual should be aware, especially if they are in the public "eye", that anything they do can be scrutinised, including their philanthropy. The ultimate responsibility lies with them, but we are always happy to provide guidance on how to identify potential risks.

There’s quite a “toolbox” today for giving: Donor Advised Funds in the UK and US, private foundations, trusts of various kinds. Depending on whether one is in a common law or civil law centre, certain structures work better than others. Do you see any trends in structures becoming more, less popular, and why?
Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are commonplace in the US but less known in the UK. They are very easy to set up and manage, which is making them increasingly popular. However, the donor who sets the fund up is not its ‘owner’; this is ultimately in the hands of the DAF provider. I think that over time they may become more popular in the UK.

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