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Get ready for massive growth in large-scale philanthropy

50% of global wealth is owned by 1% and within 30 years that is likely to rise to 65% or more.  The number of dollar billionaires is growing rapidly every year.  

The richest 80 people on earth already own as much wealth as the poorest 3.4 billion people.

Over 1,600 billionaires and their families now own between them $6.4 trillion – which is more than the combined income of the poorest 120 countries in the world. Think about it.

And in the layer below that are a further 250,000 Ultra-High Net Worth individuals (UNHWs).  This is a completely unsustainable and toxic trend and will lead to social unrest or worse without significant change.

So what is going to happen to all this wealth?  

The answer is that a very significant proportion will be given away.  Why?

I have been advising many of the largest Private Banks in the world and large Investment Funds for over 20 years.  I have also worked with many of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs and Family Offices.

For 20 years now I have been saying that Philanthropic advisory services will be at the heart of Private Banking and wealth management, for the next few decades. The reasons are simple and logical.

10 reasons why large-scale philanthropy is growing fast

1.  Huge wealth cannot be spent by an individual on themselves in their own lifetime - most spending generates more wealth – whether buying property or companies or art or other assets.

2.  Huge wealth is often toxic to the wellbeing of the children of those that own it – according to many ultra-high net worth individuals I have worked with, and to those who work with their families.

3.  Huge wealth can also be very damaging in the same way to grandchildren.

4.  Huge wealth and associated celebrity status also distorts friendships and relationships with wider family – creating questions about the true motivation of those who want to spend time with you, as well as many other social pressures.

5.  Since such wealth cannot be spent on oneself or family, and cannot be enjoyed after death, the strong logic is to give most of it away – to make a real difference and create a lasting legacy, for a better future world.

6. And once the individual decides that a major part of the wealth will one day be given away, the question is why give all the fun of that to trustees of some foundation set up after death.  Why not start now, and enjoy the fulfillment of it.

7.  And once that happens, once employees of companies owned by such people realize that much or most or all of the profits they make for their owners are now being given away to Charity, it builds morale, pride, sense of purpose, loyalty, commitment and creative energy.  All of this helps generate even more profits.

8.  Creating a family trust is also protective for the character and maturity of children growing up in very wealthy families.  Children can be deeply involved from the start in decisions about what causes to support and then begin to see the purpose of all that wealth is primarily to make a difference to those in real need, rather than to provide an extravagant lifestyle for themselves.

9.  Philanthropy also diverts public criticism or even hostility from owners of great wealth, reduces the pressure on governments to impose super-high rates of marginal tax for highest earners, and opens doors to great influence and (hopefully) respect, nationally and internationally. 

10.  And it’s all tax free – in other words, every time a very wealthy person makes a donation to a cause they are really passionate about, it forces their own government to contribute all the tax money to the same cause that they would otherwise be due.  In the UK, for example, that can mean the government has to match £45 for every £55 a very wealthy donor choses to give away - whether to an art gallery, a wildlife sanctuary, a homeless project, or a church. 

So Philanthropy makes absolute logical and emotional sense – for the sake of the family, and for the wellbeing of the wider world.

Entrepreneurs often have tough personal stories - which drive them

Many entrepreneurs have painful stories.  Often you will find an absent father figure, financial pressures as they grew up, tough situations which made that person determined to succeed, determined to make wealth for their own family - but what can happen its that great financial success brings its own family pressures.

5 Elements of Philanthropic Advisory Services

Advice to Family Offices on philanthropy is already booming - and can range from:

1.  Advice on ways to donate tax efficiently

2.  Advice on setting up and running a family foundation

3.  Introductions to other UNHWs who have gone down a similar path

4.  Introductions to outstanding charity founders

5.  Wealth management of assets of the family foundation


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