Jemima Whyte, The Australian Financial Review.
Former Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott has been appointed chairwoman of the $460 million ASX-listed philanthropic vehicle Future Generation Global, and says she plans to use the role to push for more government incentives to encourage investment and giving.
Future Generation Global chief executive Caroline Gurney, who also runs the locally focused Future Generation Australia, said there was an opportunity to encourage investment in funds like theirs because of the government’s goal of doubling philanthropy by 2030.
“Jennifer and I are very keen on talking to government and to see whether we can interest them in attaching tax incentives to models like ours to encourage both saving and giving,” Ms Gurney said, adding that Britain and the United States had tax incentives to encourage people to save.
Both Future Generation vehicles, founded by investor Geoff Wilson, select a panel of fund managers who then donate part of their management fees to the group, which gives them to selected charities.
Since FGG was set up in 2015, it has donated more than $38 million to youth mental health.
“I’ve been a big advocate for trying to find innovative ways that we use market arrangements to drive social outcomes,” Ms Westacott, who is also a director of Wesfarmers and chancellor of Western Sydney University, said.
“This has got what I call the double dividend – obviously with a very strong focus on returns to shareholders, but at the same time, by a very simple mechanism of the fund managers not taking fees they are able to be reallocated to social impact.”
Ms Westacott said despite the failed Yes campaign for the Voice referendum, directors and companies had an obligation to take a stand on the issue.
“When there’s a competition for labour and people want to work for trusted employers, people are looking for their employer to take a stand,” she said.
Mr Wilson said he expected FGG to keep growing, “It could easily be a billion and a half, $2 billion,” he said. “We’ve never had a problem getting the managers we want.”
He said he regarded the discount at which the vehicles are trading to their net asset value as a buying opportunity.
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