Advisors joining tsunami relief effort

By Heidi Staseson | January 7, 2005 | Last updated on January 7, 2005
4 min read

(January 7, 2005) While donations to the tsunami relief effort have been pouring in across all sectors of the global economy, from the big banks and capital markets, to the heavy hitters of Hollywood and even children’s own piggy banks, Canadian financial advisors are making their own charitable contributions towards the recent world tragedy.

And while philanthropic activities often count as a part of a corporation’s or an advisor’s annual fiscal agenda, many advisors feel this particular cause warrants action above and beyond the normal scope.

“In the case of the tsunami, it was so devastating and so overwhelming in terms of its negative impact that it’s unlike anything else that I’ve seen in my lifetime,” says Jim Rogers, CEO of Rogers Group Financial in Vancouver. He says although his company supports the United Way and its 110 different sub-agencies through regular fundraising campaigns annually, the corporation has chosen to make a further sizeable contribution to the Red Cross relief fund.

“We hadn’t budgeted for it, obviously, how could you? We did it anyway,” Rogers says. “Everybody has their giving opportunities and favourite giving recipients, but this is so unique that I think people of all stripes are reaching into their pocket for more.”

Further, the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) foundation will be donating $100,000 US to the tsunami relief. And, Rogers, a member of the MDRT’s executive committee, says the foundation is going to match employee contributions dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000 US.

Irene So, an advisor and senior vice-president and chair of the Asian Strategy and China Project with RBC Dominion Securities in Toronto, is contributing to the cause out of her own pocket. She is also spearheading an information campaign to her peers, in order to enlighten them on some of the lesser-known fundraising centres, such as two multi-ethnic media stations and a Chinese web-TV station. So, who is actively involved in 10 different charitable organizations, explains that while upwards of 70% of her clients are of Asian origin (mostly Chinese), this does not influence her relief interests.

“I’ve always believed it doesn’t matter what nationality they are. When they have these types of acts of God happening, people should come out to help. It doesn’t matter who they are … whether it’s cancer or heart and stroke or United Way, it’s all about trying to help people who are a little less fortunate,” she says.

Wayne Rothe, a CFP and branch manager of Wayne Rothe and Associates, a division of Berkshire Investments in Spruce Grove, Alberta, recently posted a message on’s Talvest Town Hall calling advisors to suggest to their clients they take advantage of the federal government’s recent decision to extend the charitable contribution deadline for charities working on tsunami relief. Charities eligible for the extension include the Canadian Red Cross, World Vision, Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, CARE, UNICEF, Development and Peace, Save The Children, the Mennonite Central Committee and Canadian Lutheran World Relief.

The deadline for charitable donations is usually the end of the year, but Ottawa has loosened the rules to encourage more aid. Donations made up to January 11, 2005 can be applied to the 2004 tax year.

“The tsunami disaster has affected all of us very deeply,” Rothe says. “I think Canadians should open their wallets in addition to opening their hearts to the people in these afflicted areas. My suggestion was that advisors seize this opportunity and inform their clients that they still have a few more days to make a charitable contribution and they can help some people in an area where this is the worst natural disaster in modern times.”

Additionally, Rothe sent his clients a newsletter not only encouraging them to take advantage of the charitable contribution delay, but also with the promise that for every contribution his clients make towards tsunami relief, he will partially match that figure. “For every client of mine who says, “Wayne, I made a donation to my church for tsunami relief or to the Red Cross or World Vision or whatever it is, I’m going to throw in a little bit more money for them telling me that.”

Related News Stories

  • Ottawa extends charity deadline
  • However, advisor John Hope, of Allied Financial, a division of Berkshire Group in London, Ontario cautions that although the South Asian crisis warrants worldwide financial attention, it should not supersede the importance of aid to other ongoing, worldwide suffering.

    “For everybody out there who’s rushing to give money to this because it’s a very good thing, stop and give pause to the idea that there’s an awful lot of suffering and impoverished and unfortunate people in the world. If we truly believe in the concept of globalization … then one of the objects of globalization is to share wealth. We have that obligation on an ongoing basis, and so giving money now to a specific event is not unlike making an investment in a fund that had a really good year. What we need to be doing is doing it consistently.”

    Filed by Heidi Staseson, Assistant Editor, Advisor’s Edge,


    Heidi Staseson