Banks, Asset Firms Gear Up for 4Q Charity

By Ackermann, Matt | American Banker, October 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Banks, Asset Firms Gear Up for 4Q Charity


Ackermann, Matt, American Banker


Christmas is the season for giving, but some financial institutions are revving up products and services in the hope that the whole fourth quarter will be a season for charitable giving, despite the dismal markets.

"The annual concentration of gifting that occurs in the fourth quarter is tremendous," said Bill Brownson, the managing director of philanthropic services at Bank One Private Client Services. "At least 75% of the gifting to charities occurs in the last couple months of the year. We want to be in a position to manage those assets."

Data from Foundation Source, a Norwalk, Conn., provider of charitable giving services, show that $159 billion of the $212 billion donated to charities and nonprofit organizations last year was given in the fourth quarter.

Bank One Corp., Fidelity Investments, and National City Corp. are among the banking and investment companies aggressively expanding the charitable giving vehicles available to their clients for managing these charitable assets.

Mr. Brownson said wealthy people look to give at the end of the year for tax purposes. Regardless of the economic climate, he said, the wealthy would rather give to charities than to Uncle Sam.

"Taxes get the wealthy to make a decision, but these people also care about how the dollars are spent," Mr. Brownson said. "They want their money to impact the community they live in and the issues they care about."

Bank One Private Client Services, which manages $20 billion of philanthropic assets for its wealthy customers, has established a couple of giving plans and a foundation agreement with Foundation Source to supply investors with additional philanthropic services.

"Philanthropy is a critical part of our high-net-worth clients' total picture," Mr. Brownson said. "A bank cannot expect to maintain a vibrant relationship with its wealthy clients without strong charitable giving products."

Other companies have also bolstered philanthropic services. Last month, National City started a donor-advised portfolio, the National City Charitable Giving Fund. And Fidelity Investments has announced it would manage private charitable foundations for individuals and families with at least $1 million of philanthropic assets.

Doug Mellinger, the chairman and chief executive officer of Foundation Source, said his company has signed up to supply private foundation services to 16 banks and other financial institutions this year.

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Banks, Asset Firms Gear Up for 4Q Charity
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