Super Rich More Generous as Markets Falter?

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October 6, 2011; Source: The Economic Times | While this article does not appear to be based upon anything but a set of stories we like the headline “Slowdown Effect: Super Rich Giving More While Markets Perilous” and we want to believe that it is the truth. It’s the optimism glow we feel from seeing young people speak up for their and our financial futures on Wall Street and elsewhere.

The story runs in the Economic Times of India and it suggests that the very rich are turning their attention more and more to philanthropy as the global recession grinds on. The article is based on conversations with bankers to the wealthy at the Reuters Wealth Management Summit

For instance, Pablo Garnica, the head of private banking in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at JP Morgan Private Bank  is reported to have said “One of the things that people are very focused on these days is philanthropy. This is not new. But there is a raised awareness, with the difficulty around the world, (and people are asking) ‘How can we give back?'”

And Pierre De Weck the Global Head of Wealth Management at Deutsche Bank AG Called Philanthropy “one of the most fulfilling activities” adding “If you build a tremendous amount of wealth and can afford anything you want in life, to find a new fulfilling activity, often at an advanced age when the business is turned over to a new generation and a degree of emptiness comes to the individual, it becomes a real passion.”

But then the reporter taints the glow a bit, by writing, “The irony is that offshore private banks are traditionally used by investors wanting to minimise their taxes, and many governments are now in dire need of more revenues to stabilise their economies.”

Of course one super rich guy, Warren Buffett is urging that his class be taxed more on top of giving to charity but that is hardly the norm. Peter Fanconi, head of private banking at Vontobel Group AG , said he could not think of anyone else in the mega wealthy category advocating for such stuff.–Ruth McCambridge