At Jersey Finance’s Annual Private Wealth Conference in London, on 26 September, it was made inexplicably clear that philanthropy and socially responsible investing (SRI) are now core considerations for high net worth individuals and their wealth management strategies.

At the event at 8 Northumberland Avenue, ‘Building Better Futures’, for which Philanthropy Impact was a valued media partner, a panel of professionals from this area of expertise discussed the evolution of philanthropy, the importance of understanding its many complexities and the future direction of philanthropy and SRI in a changing world.

It’s about values, not value

The panel, ‘The evolution of giving back’, was moderated by Laila Charlton-Meyrick from Tribe Impact Capital and covered the increasing variety of ways in which wealthy individuals are aligning their values with their wealth management. The strong underlying theme to the panel was that we should discard the view that being ‘wealthy’ is measured by the amount of capital an individual has to their name.

Indeed, Laila and her panellists – Sianne Haldane from Cancer Research UK, Catherine Grum from KPMG, and Aiden McAvinue from Smith & Williamson International – talked about how wealth is not just economic, but that it also includes health, happiness and values. Laila underlined how money is just the vehicle used to reflect and apply these elements and the panellists discussed the practical measures which are currently being undertaken and advised upon in firms to ensure clients’ values are aligned with their investments.

It was made clear that as millennials and ‘GenZ’ clients take to the wheel of their individual or family investments, there is a definite shift towards the wider environmental and socio-cultural impact of where they are directing their wealth. It’s notable that of investors between the ages of 25 and 34, over half invest sustainably, but the trend is also extending beyond the realms of the younger generation and needs to be a consideration across the board.

Divestment – SRI is gaining traction

In particular, the panel explained that investors and companies are working harder to not just address their active investments (where they purposefully align their values with investment), but also passive investments (where some ongoing investments might clash with their current values.) This has been made abundantly clear in the recent ‘theatrical’ divestment of both the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre from oil giants, BP and Shell respectively. While this doesn’t directly link to philanthropic investment and wealth management, it is a clear route towards the active choice of philanthropy and SRI by big firms such as these.

Added to this pressure on companies to “do the right thing” is the value system of millennials and Gen Z. Already fully-fledged members of the workforce, these younger generations view climate change and protecting the environment as humanity’s most pressing challenge, and as  baby-boomers (born 1946 – 1964) enter retirement, the influence of millennials and Gen Z is only set to increase.

The age of philanthropy

When planning events such as Jersey Finance’s Annual London Private Wealth Conference, philanthropy is now a clear priority for professionals, with plenty of scope for exploration and discussion, and we are pleased that the private wealth industry is embracing such a positive and impactful move. This isn’t a trend, it’s a growing sector of expertise which is here to stay and I’m excited to see how families, individuals and firms are adapting to align their values with investment.

Read the full article in situ here.