(Photo: AP)

Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity and donor-advised fund giant, introduced its Charitable Planning Practice Management program on Tuesday to help financial advisors more closely align with their clients’ giving goals.

The program provides education and counseling to help firms and advisors incorporate philanthropic planning and sophisticated giving strategies into their service offerings.

“Our mission is to make charitable giving more accessible,” Krystal Kiley, vice president of relationship and practice management at Fidelity Charitable, said in a statement.

This is important because, as Kiley noted, citing an Accenture study, with a quarter of the $30 trillion expected to transfer from baby boomers to their heirs by 2026, charitable planning as part of holistic wealth management is a significant client need.

“Advisors who incorporate this into their client conversations will differentiate themselves and earn the trust of the next generation,” she said.

In its statement, Fidelity pointed to a 2014 study of high-net-worth adults that found giving back to society through philanthropy ranked as their third most important use of wealth, just behind their family’s financial security and achieving financial independence.

Jon Jones, CEO of the Seattle wealth management firm Brighton Jones, said in an interview that virtually all of his firm’s 1,200 high-net-worth clients want advice around charitable giving.

“I’ve found that some of the most important conversations I have with clients are about how they can provide support for the causes they care most about,” Jones said.

He said his firm has been on the Fidelity Charitable platform for a decade, and this has given him and his advisors a strong foundation by providing education, tools and consulting on philanthropic topics.

Fidelity said its program will give advisors access to exclusive research, planning tools, in-person workshops, virtual webinars, actionable guides and materials that can be used with clients to help them meet their charitable giving goal.

Tailored Approach

The new program could be tailored to meet the specific needs of firms, their advisors and their clientele, according to Fidelity.

This is accomplished through a four-part strategic approach:

  • Expert consultants identify specific areas of opportunity for education and how to integrate that knowledge practically
  • Financial advisors can improve their skills and potentially earn continuing education credit through workshops and webinars from “Fidelity Charitable University,” which is not affiliated with an accredited educational institution
  • Fidelity Charitable has created a library of materials allowing advisors to take advantage of client guides, advisor guides, case studies and calculators to deploy knowledge they have gained
  • Fidelity Charitable will facilitate engagement with study groups and an advisor council that will include financial advisors, CPAs and attorneys

Each advisor who signs up for the new program can learn about key topics, including essentials in charitable planning, funding philanthropy through non-publicly traded assets and how to engage clients’ families and the next generation with charitable planning.

 “Philanthropic planning can provide that opportunity by helping connect an advisor with his or her clients’ entire family, including their heirs, and create a philanthropic legacy that spans generations,” Kiley said.

 “We are providing this valuable complimentary program to advisors to ensure that clients and their family’s charitable priorities are supported and that nonprofits themselves continue to get the contributions they need to continue their missions.”