MeesPierson: Getting families to give together
Philanthropy is not the first concept one associates with banks, but MeesPierson Asia, part of Fortis Bank, has turned it into an important business, as its placing in Euromoney's 2004 private banking poll demonstrates. It reflects a commitment that has been long held worldwide, claims Terry Farris, head of philanthropy services at MeesPierson Asia (pictured). “It's part of the MeesPierson culture,” he says. “It's a major issue for us. Our team is extremely passionate: they've all been in the industry 10 to 15 years.”
Their interest is not purely philanthropic itself, however, since MeesPierson, like other banks, charges for its philanthropy services, usually through consultancy fees and trust and asset management services. “We're not going to make a ton of money out of it,” says Farris, “but we have a global team and it's a decent business.” That business entails advising wealthy families in Asia on their charitable goals, assisting in establishing the necessary trusts and non-profit structures and then managing assets in accordance with the family's philanthropic aims.