It’s evident that the mindset of the ultra-high net worth individual (UHNWI) is changing, with many having a desire to make a positive impact on the world through their investment decisions.
Examples of this trend include the Giving Pledge, a charitable campaign in which the wealthiest people pledge to give the majority of their wealth to charitable causes, and the increasing popularity of sustainable investing, with a new generation of UHNWIs taking a more hands-on approach as well as focussing on impact and measurable results.
International finance centres (IFCs) can either be aware of these shifting attitudes to investment and hope to encourage philanthropic funding, or they can be more proactive and develop vehicles within their legislative armoury that will support this purpose.
In Jersey, I’m pleased to say that the same benefits that Jersey can offer to facilitate global capital flows, arising from business and commerce, can and are being applied to philanthropic enterprises and distributions.
For instance, Jersey’s foundations law has given a particular boost to those with philanthropic objectives. To quote just one example, Standard Bank Group registered a foundation in Jersey to support the African Women Impact Fund Initiative, which was launched in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and is aimed at uplifting female-led asset management firms and promoting sustainable growth across the African continent. The aim is to raise up to US$1 billion over ten years for women fund managers, funds which will then be invested in high impact businesses and projects across Africa.
Foundations are only one feature of our offering that sits alongside our enviable reputation as a trust jurisdiction, flexible companies’ legislation and one of the widest series of partnership structures available, among IFCs. We’ve also benefited from the implementation by the Island’s government of a charities law which helped to position Jersey at the centre of the rapidly expanding philanthropic sector.
There have been calls from leading philanthropists for greater collaboration between the wealthiest individuals so that their combined contributions can make an even bigger difference in the world, and the value of collaboration is one we at Jersey Finance will often highlight. Indeed, the successful collaboration between our industry, the government and the regulator, is one reason why we have become a prominent jurisdiction for philanthropic endeavours.
The future direction of philanthropy will be a focus for discussion at our annual flagship private wealth conference, taking place in London on Tuesday 26 September.
One of the panel discussions will explore especially how the next generation of wealthy individuals is transforming philanthropy and examining the challenges and opportunities in this field. Moreover, I’m delighted too that our conference will feature a ‘fireside chat’ with Steve Hewitt, a hugely successful retail entrepreneur who has formed Whanau, an organisation that supports high-growth SMEs and partnerships with charities. Steve himself heads up an initiative on behalf of the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity UK.
Steve will provide a real-life illustration of this evolving mindset in action and I’m sure will provide much to enlighten us on how success in business and philanthropy can be a winning combination.