While post-Covid life may look the same as before, for many of us, the new normal will be completely different. Jeremy Hill from Kleinwort Hambros’ Newbury office explores how responsibility, purpose and strategy in the context of wealth planning can help us create the society we would like to see.
The Covid-19 pandemic ground economies to a halt, closed international borders and confined us to our homes. Our long-term plans, hopes and aspirations were automatically put on hold as we sought to assess – both as individuals and collectively as a society – what the future may look like.
The easing of restrictions that we’re now seeing represents a steady return to the ‘old normal’, and, in many ways, life post-lockdown will eventually look very similar to how it did before. Once again, we have been able to visit family and friends, go to a restaurant and travel abroad.
Yet, lockdown has had an impact. For many of us, Covid-19 has represented a turning point in our own goals and objectives and what we feel is important both personally and as a society. Increasingly I have heard from colleagues, clients and friends a reluctance to return to ‘normal’ life post Covid-19. There is an increasing desire to contribute to a more sustainable future, and a renewed sense of solidarity across society.
There are a number of ways we can have a positive impact on the issues we care about, such as how we spend and invest money to meet the purposes that are close to our client’s and their family’s hearts.
At Kleinwort Hambros we are committed to demystifying the concept of responsible investing and combining the strengths of a range of different approaches. We are already proud members of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) prior to new regulations which will require banks to ask every client for their ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing criteria, among other formal requirements. There is no industry standard definition of what constitutes a responsible approach to investing, however more widely-acknowledged styles are: ethical, ESG, impact, and sustainable.
As ever, one of the most effective ways that we can bring about change is through our own financial planning; How should I survive and thrive among this immediate crisis? Then, what am I trying to achieve? What do I want for my family and my legacy? Where do I start?
Many of us will be reassessing our financial plans and objectives. This presents the perfect opportunity to look at the solutions that can be designed to meet these goals – such as how our values can be better reflected in the financial decisions we make. When doing so, one area to consider is philanthropy.
At a recent event hosted by the Home Grown Club, the entrepreneurs arm of Home House, my colleague Rebecca Constable discussed philanthropy as a catalyst for change in the post-Covid world. “Unlike charity, which offers an emotional outburst and resources to ease a problem, philanthropy is more strategic and aimed at solving the root cause,” she said, adding that: “It’s not just about giving money, it is also time and expertise; it’s a mindset,”
And while for many, philanthropy may conjure up images of benevolent billionaires, it is not necessarily the preserve of the super-rich. There is no minimum commitment to being philanthropic and common assumptions that it can only be done by setting up a charity or a foundation are incorrect. Donor advised funds, for example, are an easy to set-up bank account that let you decide the destinations of your donations.
So as we all emerge from this unexpected pause and assess what kind of society we’d like to see, philanthropy may be one area that you want to consider, and we would love to talk with you. We strive to help you focus on your goals, prioritise your objectives and identify solutions that are designed to meet those goals, helping us to contribute towards and build the new normal that we all want to see.