The common denominator for successful financial advisors is to be a people person first and to really enjoy getting to know people and understanding what really makes people tick. And I think if you can do that, if you can make those connections and forge those relationships, you will have clients forever.
If I wasn’t involved in a private foundation and a financial advisor wanted to get me personally, talk about the things that are going to pull the heartstrings a little bit and it’s… I think there’s a lot of things that they could talk about as far as tax incentives and financial planning and things that are definitely pros. But start talking about legacy. Start talking about things that are important to me and passions that I have and what we can do financially to align with those.
There’s no question that advisers today have a much larger obligation to be able to fulfill those clients’ philanthropic expectations.
I think it’s important for advisors to educate themselves because if you have a family with a substantial means, they’re probably looking at that now.
An advisor who’s not considering clients’ philanthropic motivations, they would be doing themselves a disservice. And the reason is because there’s an overwhelming amount of empirical research that shows an increasing number of families, particularly driven by the younger generations, are expecting that their financial advisors will have that tool in their toolkit.
And it’s a great way to establish relationships both with better relationships with the parents and relationships with their children, which is something we actually all want to do in our businesses is to get to know the multiple generations in a larger family.
And so I think it would behoove financial advisors to figure out a way to look beyond maybe their traditional scope of stocks and bonds to widen the aperture to start to think through other solutions.
What I really love about working with clients with their family foundations is that you have the opportunity to really understand what is important to your client.
If I were sitting there on conference calls every quarter telling them this stock was up 5% this bond was down 3%, we wouldn’t have the connectivity that we have. And I think we enjoy now and there is no question that it makes our relationship that much more rich and importantly better informs my perspective on them and better equips me as an advisor to steward their assets.
I always like to say that our relationships with families spans market cycles and generations. Families have very different desires and by understanding what’s really important to them, it helps me as an advisor to get to know that family better and that’s very important to me because these are longterm relationships and the better I get to know a family, the longer I believe that relationship will last.
The consultants and the external support is essential, we wouldn’t want to try to go this alone.
I realized, jeez, I have to be here expert in taxes and in all kinds of things that I just don’t have the time to do.
We don’t have to be the ones that know all the details of compliance and tax and legal, but we have to be with an organization that does understand all those things so we can focus on the true mission the client has.
Foundation Source is a company that has been built to support private foundations for families and it takes much of the paperwork and heartache away from running a private foundation and that’s just a load off your mind.
For me. I ended up finding foundations specifically not because of necessarily, all of the amazing admin work that they do and helping with day to day logistics, but because I’m from a tech startup, I actually found their platform online and that from a technology standpoint is what got me.
They handle all the receipts and disbursements and that sort of thing. Keep track of the grants that we’ve made and actually prepare the income tax return for the foundation as well.
Foundation Source, they really help provide those back office services. Everything from tax compliance, putting together your governing documents, your articles and your bylaws, things of that nature.
One of the great things about working with Foundation Source has been that it is a partnership. So just like a client needs to be close to their attorney and their advisor and their CPA, you can just add Foundation Source as one of those other advisors.
Foundation Source helps I think with what might be an effective strategy, different options, different program areas that might interest the family. Strategies for helping the family come together and work more collaboratively.
By having Foundation Source as our partner, it allows me to work with the client on the investments and on their mission and on their charitable giving and not have to worry about the administration and on the compliance, and all the tax issues that come with having a family foundation. So it frees me up to work on what’s important with the client to focus on what’s really important to them, which is figuring out how they can really give back to society and make impact.