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Banking on philanthropy

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By Ret Boney

An ordained Episcopal priest and former keyboardist and saxophonist for rock band Nantucket, H. King McGlaughon followed a novel path to the helm of charitable services for one of the largest banks in the U.S.

As the new managing executive of Wachovia’s National Philanthropic Practice, he will oversee the bank’s $13 billion in charitable assets under management and work to continue its growth.

“My personal goal is that Wachovia becomes widely understood to be the most well-respected and most successful provider of charitable financial services in the sector,” says McGlaughon.

And that means ongoing double-digit growth in assets for the group.

Ninety-eight percent of households with net worth in excess of $1 million give to charity every year, he says, and that should spur revenue increases of at least 10 percent a year.

“Charitable giving is a core financial behavior of Americans,” he says.  “And because of that, the bank should be experiencing significant levels of growth.”

Currently, the group manages about $3 billion in assets of personal trusts, $6 billion from private foundations and about $4 billion in institutional endowment funds and planned-giving assets.

About 30 charitable advisors work with existing and potential clients in major markets throughout the U.S., helping them conceive and execute financial solutions around their charitable aims.

Another 80 of the group’s staff are based at the bank’s offices in Winston-Salem, N.C., managing the trusts, providing administrative services to foundations and nonprofits and developing planned-giving products and services.

That includes the group’s technical and legal staff that stays on top of accounting and legal changes and keeps advisors in the field up-to-date.

“As far as I know, it’s a greater commitment of resources than any other financial-services firm,” McGlaughon says.

A native of Raleigh, N.C., where his father served as Wachovia’s city executive, McGlaughon started his professional career as a lawyer.

But within a few years, he heeded a long-standing call to enter the ministry.

He discovered the world of organized philanthropy as an ordained Episcopal priest in New York City, where he consulted with the endowment foundation of the church and developed a training program for people involved in philanthropy.

“The experience has certainly shaped my understanding of what motivates and drives people,” he says of his work as a priest.  “I’m alert to some of the more values-based decisions people make when thinking about their finances.”

After participating in one of McGlaughon’s training sessions, Merrill Lynch recruited him to build and manage its own charitable services group, designed to help clients make philanthropy part of their wealth planning.

H. King McGlaughon

Job: Managing executive, Wachovia’s National Philanthropic Practice, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Education: B.A., history and economics, and law degree, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.Div., General Theological Seminary, New York City; doctoral work, ethics, Jewish Theological Seminary

Born: 1952, grew up in Raleigh, N.C.

Family: Three children, ages 29, 25, 21; one grandson

Hobbies: Traveling, cooking

Currently reading: “1776,” by David McCullough

Recently read: “The Da Vinci Code,” by Dan Brown; “Where God Was Born,” by Bruce Feiler

Favorite music: Debussy; R&B with horns

Inspiration: Grandmother, Inez Dickie, one of the first women to be hired as a professor at a state university

He spent eight years there before taking over the American College’s endowed chair in philanthropy, where he taught and ultimately rose to dean of the college. Located in Bryn Mawr, the college owns and operates several professional certification and designation programs and McGlaughon designed a certificate designation for charitable planners for the college.He joined Wachovia in March and, in addition to growing the assets of the National Philanthropic Practice, he hopes to allocate more of the bank’s resources to working directly with nonprofit clients.

“Wachovia hasn’t dedicated as much time and energy to developing that business,” he says.  “We need to be as attentive to the nonprofits as we have been to the donors.”

He also wants to make sure his group stays on the forefront of developments in charitable planning, offering clients the most comprehensive services available.

“Historically, charitable giving was understood as an esoteric, boxed-off area of financial life,” he says.  “People are becoming much more strategic in their philanthropy.”

There is also a level of complexity in charitable planning that didn’t exist 15 years ago, he says, and as the pace of change increases, Wachovia will have to work hard to stay on top.

“I want to make sure our clients are getting the most sophisticated and accessible advice and solutions to maximize the impact of their charitable investments on their communities,” he says.

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