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OppenheimerFunds to End Donor Advised Fund Program

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OppenheimerFunds will end its Legacy Donor Advised Fund Program and transfer the assets to Fidelity Charitable, the firm’s chief marketing officer, Marty Willis, announced in a Sept. 9 letter to account holders.

The transfer will be effective on Nov. 4, and account holders were asked to sign and return a release by Oct. 14 so their Legacy DAF balance could be moved to a Fidelity Charitable account. The letter listed other options: donating the entire balance before the transfer or transferring it to a new DAF.

In a subsequent letter, dated Sept. 19, Willis said OppenheimerFunds would appoint Fidelity Charitable trustees as the successor trustee and charitable remainder beneficiary of its Pooled Income Fund Program. The transition, a nontaxable and nonreportable event, will take place on or about Jan. 1, 2012. Again, account holders have until Oct. 14 to sign and return a release.

In her communications, Willis gave no reasons for the closure and transfers. Asked for a comment, a spokesperson for the firm sent this reply by email:

“After careful consideration and a thorough review, OppenheimerFunds, Inc. has decided to close its Legacy Program and transfer all Donor Advised Fund (“DAF”) and Pooled Income Fund (“PIF”) account records and assets to Fidelity Charitable. This transfer will provide account owners with even greater charitable donation options and service and will allow OFI to focus on its core businesses and growth.”

The Legacy Program currently has $95 million in assets, the spokesperson said in the email message.

Fidelity Charitable, the largest provider of DAFs in the country, reported a record-breaking increase in contributions during the first of this year.

In 2009 (the latest year for which figures are available), donor-advised funds had a total of some $25 billion in assets, according to National Philanthropic Trust