White Papers

Charity Top Spending Priority For Quarter Of HNW Individuals - Barclays Wealth

Wendy Spires, London, November 30, 2010


Barclays Wealth surveyed 2,000 high net worth individuals around the world and found that close to a quarter regarded charity as a top spending priority.

Massive charitable donations by the ultra-rich, such as the
Gates and Warren Buffet, have recently been in the headlines, and a new study
has confirmed that philanthropy should also be top of wealth managers’ minds if
they wish to keep pace with current trends.

For a new white paper on Philanthropy released today, Barclays Wealth surveyed 2,000 high net worth individuals around the world and
found that close to a quarter (23 per cent) regarded charity as a “top spending
priority.” Breaking this down regionally the US, Ireland, South Africa and
India topped the rankings of countries that donate significant amounts of money
and time to charitable causes.

The report, Global Giving: The Culture of Philanthropy, also
found that the high net worth broadly fell into two categories – volunteers and
benefactors – according to whether they are more inclined to donate their time
or their money to charity.

Here, clear regional trends were also in evidence. The
countries were the highest proportion of HNW individuals who said that charity
was one of their top three spending priorities, the US, South Africa and Saudi
Arabia topped the table at 41, 37, 32 per cent respectively. In forth and fifth
place were Ireland and Taiwan at 30 and 28 per cent.

The picture was rather different in respect of those HNW individuals
who preferred to donate their time (volunteers), with India and Ireland sharing
the top spot at 20 per cent, followed by the US (17 per cent), South Africa (13
per cent) and Qatar (11 per cent).

As Barclays Wealth puts it “concept of philanthropy is
universal”, but the firm was particularly interested in examining how this
desire to do good manifests in each individual country. In trying to explain,
for example, why Ireland topped both the benefactor and volunteer rankings the
report cited the strong sense of community in Ireland and that personal
connections to local causes are the driver behind a lot of charitable activity
there. In the case of India, Barclays Wealth pointed to the omnipresence of
abject poverty in the country contributing to individuals’ sense that they must
do something personally to alleviate it.

Understanding the cultural nuances associated with
charitable giving is of course vitally important for wealth management firms as
philanthropic services are now increasingly part of the standard offering HNW
clients have come to expect. Firms may well find that the key to building a
successful philanthropy offering could be tailoring their services to take
account of the kind of cultural nuances that Barclays Wealth’s report found.


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