Canada wealth managers see growth in philanthropic advice

Thu Feb 7, 2013 1:25pm EST
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* Big banks see growth in demand for service, ties to asset growth

* Wealth managers can specializes in philanthropic advice or farm it out

* Demographics suggest business will grow

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Gina McDonnell's ancestors ran the family's diverse charitable foundation for two generations before a retiring uncle turned to the Bank of Nova Scotia for help.

For the past 20 years, the bank's Scotia Trust and Scotia Asset Management units have done everything from managing the assets and sorting through grants to ensuring compliance and providing independent auditors. They even host the meetings - and order the sandwiches - when the family gathers four times a year to discuss its charity.

"We needed more service than any one of us would want to provide. My uncle took on a lot of responsibility and I'm sure he was good at it, but I think the bank can probably do a better job than we ever could," McDonnell said of managing the C$6 million, 55-year old Charles H. Ivey Foundation.

A demographic shift is driving Canada's big banks to offer better and deeper philanthropic advisory services to wealthy clients who want to plan a charitable legacy and bring hefty assets, income and fees along with them.

Global banking offers several models to emulate, from boutique trust companies to divisions of big banks, and Canadian banks have so far avoided consensus. While some wealth managers are scrambling to build internal foundations and expertise to keep monetary gifts under their own roof and others are outsourcing to expert teams, Toronto-based Scotiabank is swallowing market share by being ahead of the pack.   Continued...