How Quilter’s foundation is tackling social issues

The Quilter Foundation promotes financial careers among young people by building partnerships that invest in education

Following our recent focus on how IFAs run their own charitable activities, we decided to speak to a bigger organisation about their charitable work. Quilter, which listed last year following a strategic separation from Old Mutual Wealth, has its own charitable foundation.

New Model Adviser® editor William Robins spoke to Jane Goodland (pictured), Quilter director of corporate affairs, about how its work is changing the lives of young people and giving advisers’ clients an opportunity to give back.

Following our recent focus on how IFAs run their own charitable activities, we decided to speak to a bigger organisation about their charitable work. Quilter, which listed last year following a strategic separation from Old Mutual Wealth, has its own charitable foundation.

New Model Adviser® editor William Robins spoke to Jane Goodland (pictured), Quilter director of corporate affairs, about how its work is changing the lives of young people and giving advisers’ clients an opportunity to give back.

What is the foundation? Where did it come from and what does it do?

When I joined Old Mutual in 2015, my initial impression was there were loads of people who really cared about doing the right thing, but our charitable efforts were not terribly well-organised. There was scope to professionalise what we were doing. 

We instigated a review, looking at what would make sense for us. What would best practice look like in this space? We concluded it would make sense to launch a separate corporate foundation: The Quilter Foundation. It was officially rubber-stamped by The Charity Commission in November 2017, but we did not launch it publicly until we listed Quilter as a business. It was a really nice way of saying: ‘this is the start of something new. We have this incredibly passionate group of colleagues who want to do great things: here is a vehicle for them to do that.’

We consulted around 1,200 of our staff in surveys and workshops, and they told us what The Quilter Foundation should do. I was absolutely staggered by the response. 1,200 people giving their views is very powerful.

What are the foundation’s priorities?

We wanted to connect the foundation to our overall purpose as a firm. We decided our aim is to create prosperity: not just for today’s generation, but for those of tomorrow too. That meant helping younger people overcome barriers.

We did research to find the key things that inhibit people’s life chances. And from there, we distilled down the sorts of barriers people face. We targeted the ones we could have an impact on.

We identified three main areas. The first is education, with a focus on financial education and literacy. The second one is employment, meaning helping people access employment opportunities, but also staying in a meaningful job. The third is about health and wellbeing. As we know, mental health and wellbeing are massive barriers for people getting ahead. 

All of our community investment work links to those themes in some way, and predominantly takes place in the 25-and-under age group.

 

What projects is the foundation involved in?

We visit schools with our partner charity, MyBnk, which delivers financial education programmes in schools and youth organisations. We have set up a whole new financial education hub around Southampton and Portsmouth. Over the past few years, it has helped thousands of young people through financial education. We fund the charity to deliver in schools, as well as provide volunteer support. The programme delivers on our behalf, so there is no corporate branding in the school.

We do other things too. We set up a coalition of investment and savings funds, KickStart Money, which I continue to co-chair. That brings together 20 of the largest savings and investment firms in the UK, which work collaboratively to co-fund financial education. Our attempts to get financial education permanently on the national curriculum have not been very successful, but we continue to fight for it regardless.

A number of staff said they would really like to support our young carers partnership. This year, we will be launching a new partnership focused on the employment arena. It will identify people who need a little bit more support to get into work, and hopefully help them out.

That said, we do prefer to work with fewer charity partners so we can develop long-term strategic partnerships. That is overall probably better for the charities themselves and probably more impactful for the people they help.

Before we got involved with MyBnk, they had no financial education programmes running in the south of England. We knew it would be good to develop financial education around the Southampton and Portsmouth areas because we have a large community of staff down there. MyBnk said: ‘Yes, brilliant. But we need confirmation this is going to be a multi-year project.’ They wanted to hire staff and actually develop a programme that could be resourced and delivered effectively.

Who is involved in KickStart Money?

Legal & General, Columbia Threadneedle, Janus Henderson, Axa, Aviva, Standard Life Aberdeen and Schroders are our partners at KickStart Money. (You can find the full list of companies involved at kickstartmoney.co.uk)

Columbia Threadneedle was the other founding partner. Tisa provides the secretariat for it. It was officially launched in 2017. It is very much a case of organisations in the sector working together in a non-competitive way for something that will benefit all of us over the long term.

Where is the money for the foundation coming from? How much have you raised?

We set up the Quilter Foundation with seed money from the share capital of our legacy parent Old Mutual, prior to the strategic separation that resulted in Quilter listing. We then seeded that to the Quilter Foundation. But our staff also fundraise for it, and Quilter makes a contribution as well. There are no set amounts, but at the end of the year we will write to the company asking it to make a donation to the foundation. And we are having that investment managed for growth and income.

[According to Quilter’s 2018 financial report, as part of the managed separation and listing, shareholders donated £5,851 to the Quilter Foundation, the result of the sale of fractional shares. It also says the Quilter Foundation launched a £1.5 million campaign with Carers Trust.]

Who does what at the Foundation? 

Quilter Foundation is a separate legal entity, so it has a board of trustees and is authorised and regulated by the Charity Commission. We have to file accounts every year. I am a trustee, as is Quilter chief executive Paul Feeney (pictured). We meet quarterly. We have a couple of people in my team who are specifically employed to ensure the foundation runs well.

Quilter has basically said it will not cross-charge that cost to the foundation. Everything raised for the foundation goes to the foundation because it does not have to pay for premises, staff and so on. Everything our staff and advisers raise goes to the foundation. It goes straight to the causes.

Does Quilter manage the money as well?

No, it does not. This is an interesting one, because I think people would presume that was the case, but we felt as trustees from a governance perspective it would be cleaner and better if we outsourced it. In all honesty, it is easier to fire a third-party manager than Quilter if you are unhappy with their decisions.

Is it something Quilter advisers talk about with clients?

We have spent our first stage engaging staff. That means making them aware of the foundation and how to understand and supporting it. The next stage for us is advisers. They have already been asking how they can get involved. We want to make it easier for them to do that, and we want to give them information about the foundation’s activities they can then share with clients.

Some advice firms are thinking harder now about facilitating philanthropic giving. Our advisers are supporting people with decent chunks of money to invest. It is not crazy to think they might want some support about how to do their philanthropy in a tax-efficient way.

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