Advisor Insights

Advisor Insights

Simple content posted in on 15 January 2014
audience: The Boston Foundation | last updated: 20 January 2016
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Balancing Risks and Returns: A Conversation with Investment Committee Chair Grace Fey

The Boston Foundation is a steward for almost $1 billion in charitable assets, a public trust it takes very seriously. Grace Fey, a seasoned investment manager and president of Grace Fey Advisors, heads the six-member board committee that sets investment policy and oversees the Foundation’s more than 40 investment managers.

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December 31 Is Closer than You Think

Jayson DeAngelis, a managing director at Ballentine Partners, thinks of philanthropy as a year-round planning item rather than something to consider in the fourth quarter. However, his clients often become more focused on it as next year's tax bill looms.

"Several of our clients have asked us at the end of the year for a tax-optimized charitable gift number - the maximum amount they can contribute to a charity and get the full benefit of that deduction in the current year," notes DeAngelis, a Certified Financial Planner.

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Advisors to Peers: Talk to Clients About Legacy Giving

Attorney Advisors Scott E. Squillace and Jennifer S. Ewing anchored a roundtable discussion May 28 on philanthropy, legacy and effecting long-lasting change. The occasion was a Boston Foundation Centennial Breakfast at the Downtown Harvard Club, where the pair shared insights from their estate-planning practices with a group of trusts and estates attorneys.

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Global Crises: Helping Your Clients Respond

If it seems like the world is suffering more disasters than usual, that’s because it is.  “We are in an unprecedented time,” says Matthew Bane, managing director of UNICEF’s New England office, noting that aid groups are now responding to four humanitarian catastrophes that the United Nations has classified as Level 3 emergencies, its most serious designation.

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Biotech Boom Could Be Good for Philanthropy

A hub of thriving biotech, pharmaceutical and technology companies, Boston is home to executives and entrepreneurs who have watched the value of their firms soar during the past few years. That could be very good for charity, according to Trevor D. Byrne, Executive Financial Services Director at the Whalen Group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Boston.

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Valuing Complex Assets: What Every Advisor Should Know

Bryan Clontz specializes in brokering gifts of non-cash assets to charity, so he has seen his share of unusual donations. But even he was nonplussed when a community foundation called and asked if he could help them accept and quickly liquidate a collection of 88 stuffed and mounted safari trophies, among them an elephant and a black rhinoceros. 

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How Philanthropy Can Help Preserve Family Wealth

Tom Rogerson understands the "shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" proverb all too well. It happened to his family. "It's not gone because of bad investments, it's not gone because of bad tax planning; my great uncle Charles M. Rogerson was one of the country's top estate-planning attorneys in his day. It's gone because of how the family operated," he said at a recent dinner for donors and advisors of the Boston Foundation, which his great grandfather and great uncle founded in 1915.  Now Rogerson, a wealth strategist and managing director at Wilmington Trust, makes a living advising other families how to avoid the same fate. 

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Philanthropists Embrace Socially Responsible Investing

Sonia Kowal, Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Zevin Asset Management LLC, indirectly owes her job to a trip she made years ago to Siberia. She was sent by a former employer to research a mining company, and what she discovered horrified her. “It snowed black,” she explains.  “The trees were dead and stunted. There were no safety precautions whatsoever for the workers.”  Ms. Kowal has since devoted her career to a rapidly growing field broadly known as Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), where investment managers screen companies based on environmental, social and governance practices such as whether they provide safe working conditions, act responsibly and make products that contribute to society.

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Survey Finds That Clients Want a Meaningful Conversation about Philanthropy

Wealthy people want to talk about philanthropy with their advisors, and 85 percent would like that conversation to happen within the first few meetings, according to a revealing new study by U.S. Trust/Bank of America and The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), an operating unit of the Boston Foundation.  Yet almost half of the high-net-worth individuals surveyed said they had never discussed charitable giving with their advisors.

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Why Advisors Should Have the “Philanthropy Conversation” with their Clients 

Professional advisors note that conversations about philanthropy can be good for business. Having these discussions can build trust, strengthen the relationship, and provide access to the next generation.

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The New Tax Environment: What Will It Mean for Your Philanthropy? 

Andrew Clark, a Manager at Marcum LLP, isn’t looking forward to the next three months. That’s when he has to explain to his very high-net-worth clients that they might see their tax bills soar by as much as 25 percent next year. “Clients are not as focused as they should be on this,” he says, laying out a scenario that looks like an affluent taxpayer’s Perfect Storm.

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More than Money: How to Leave a Legacy that Matters

What do you want to leave behind when you’re gone?” This is one very important question to explore with clients, and chances are they will say, “More than money.”

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Same-sex Marriage Ruling Could Benefit Charities

With its Windsor decision on June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can no longer discriminate against same-sex couples who are validly married. These couples are now entitled to a host of federal benefits that previously had been restricted to marriages between a man and a woman under Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Boston Foundation was one of 278 parties who had signed an amicus brief advising the Court of DOMA’s detrimental impact.

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Global Giving: What Advisors Need to Know

International giving is the fastest-growing sector in philanthropy, rising by 15 percent between 2009 and 2011 to $22.68 billion—or 8 percent of all U.S. philanthropic dollars, according to Giving USA. Sending aid around the globe, however, poses special challenges for donors and their advisors.

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Donor Advised Fund or Private Foundation?  How to decide?

When wealthy people think about giving money to schools, hospitals, museums and other causes they care about, two words usually come to mind: private foundation.  This makes sense if you want to hire scientists, set up a lab and find a cure for cancer, says Boston estate attorney Kurt R. Steinkrauss, but it may not be the best choice if your goal is simply to pass funds along to charity. A foundation is absolutely necessary in the first scenario, he says, but a prospective donor can choose between a foundation and a Donor Advised Fund to accomplish the second.

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How Do Women Do philanthropy?

Year after year, research conducted for the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) has found that households headed by women, at all levels of income and wealth, give more money and are more likely to give than similarly situated men. This difference is most pronounced in women born before or during the Baby Boom (1946-1964) whose income and assets put them in the top 25 percent of wealth holders.

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