The most successful advisors are involved in virtually all aspects of a client’s financial life, from wealth acquisition to wealth management to wealth distribution. They position themselves as a trusted, knowledgeable advisor and solution provider. However, many advisors limit the scope of their services to the core areas of the client’s life about which they are the most immediately comfortable; most often, to the areas addressed by the core components of their practice of origin—law, accounting, investment management, etc. Advisors don’t always tune in to the fact that the charitable giving needs of the high-net-worth and the ultra-high-net-worth client are often as important to the client as the matters that initially brought the client and the advisor together.
Most Americans are extremely generous and are engaged regularly in recurring charitable giving. Over 80% of us give to charities each year. As our wealth increases, so does our philanthropic activity: 95% of clients with a net worth of $1 million or more make significant charitable gifts each and every year; over 98% of clients with a net worth of $5 million or more also do so. As most advisors (and their firms) look increasingly to “go up-market” in order to compete successfully and profitably for new clients and to increase their share of the “client’s wallet,” they are engaged more and more exclusively with people for whom charitable giving or philanthropy is a critical, core component of their lives. Not an “every-now-and-again” activity, but a constant, critical concern of the client. High-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients regularly identify philanthropy and charitable giving as one of their top four concerns in terms of advice, service and support—along with tax planning, investment management strategy and solutions, and estate planning.