23-08-2017

Philanthropy advice that puts people first

Over ten years, Banque de Luxembourg has developed a unique approach to philanthropy that gives central place to the philanthropist’s wishes.

A matter of goals rather than legal structures

“Our clients have extremely diverse goals,” says Philippe Depoorter, a member of the Management Committee and Head of Philanthropy Services at Banque de Luxembourg. “For us, there are no good or bad causes,” he continues, “just projects that correspond to a wish, an ambition and the contribution that the client wants to make.”

The Bank has noted that many philanthropists approach their project from a structural angle: Should I create a foundation or would a private fund be better? “But a philanthropic project is above all a human venture, a process that can be long and repetitive, that needs support.” Also, the tax aspects which are the subject of many client queries, are, in practice, only an accelerator and not an end in themselves. “Our job is, first and foremost, to encourage you to ask yourself the right questions: What are my motivations? What is my goal? Who else should be involved and when? The right legal structure for your project will be found anyway.”

Knowing when to stop

Banque de Luxembourg approaches philanthropy with the same principles that it applies to private banking. “When establishing our support process, we do not allow ourselves to follow the natural tendency of the private banker, which is to think in terms of products and solutions.” This is why Banque de Luxembourg decided not to set up its own foundation, which could influence clients who want to dedicate part of their wealth to public-interest projects. “Neither is it our role to select or monitor projects.” The added value of the Bank lies in helping our clients to define their projects better, working with them to establish a donor profile, supporting them in the selection and, to a certain extent, structuring process, putting them in contact with third-party specialists and managing endowments to the foundation or fund that they eventually set up.

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