Banking Philanthropy and Client Foundations

Philanthropy and Client Foundations

In the area of philanthropy, Credit Suisse works with clients to help them incorporate their personal values and objectives into their philanthropic engagements and investment strategy. We can also create subfoundations for clients under one of Credit Suisse's umbrella charitable foundations – Accentus, Empiris and Symphasis in Switzerland or SymAsia in Singapore.

We provide a set of tools designed to contribute to making a measurable impact and help tackle social or environmental challenges through philanthropy. We offer solutions for the establishment and management of a client's charitable structure. These solutions may include input into the governance framework and services relating to investment strategy and asset management. Our client foundation offering provides an alternative for clients to creating a charitable foundation of their own.

Credit Suisse Client Foundations

The umbrella foundations Accentus, Empiris and Symphasis in Switzerland and SymAsia in Singapore provide solutions for Credit Suisse clients who wish to use part of their wealth to benefit social causes. Founders have the option of establishing an individual subfoundation during their lifetime or after their death and can freely determine the name, purpose and mode of distribution. By being part of the grants committee, they are able to participate in the selection of supported charitable undertakings. Since the creation of the client foundations Accentus, Empiris and Symphasis, around 3,000 charitable projects have been supported, with around CHF 130 million distributed. In Singapore, SymAsia has gifted around USD 74 million since it was founded in 2010. As Credit Suisse assumes the foundations' administration and management costs, the great majority of the donations goes directly towards helping worthwhile causes.

The Accentus Foundation

The Accentus Foundation was set up in 2000. The charitable foundation promotes social, humanitarian, cultural, medical, environmental and other charitable causes. The following is a selection of its existing funds:

  • With the support of the program "Pioneer Fellowship" of the ETH Zurich, the "Verena Guggisberg-Lüthi" fund promotes entrepreneurship. Irene Wüthrich PhD is researching antibiotic resistance and intends to use the research project "SpheroBiotics" to benefit society as well. The fund supports the intention to start a business.
  • supports a number of charitable projects contributing to the conservation and improvement of endangered habitats and to helping the animals that live in them, as well as projects aimed at biodiversity conservation.
  • promotes chess in Switzerland as well as supporting related activities with a link to Switzerland in other countries. The support provided by the foundation extends to chess championships, coaching for young chess talents, chess exhibitions and public-relations activities around the sport.

The Empiris Foundation

The Empiris Foundation was established in 2002 with the aim of supporting projects in research, science and education. The following is a selection of its existing funds:

  • supports clinical research projects in the area of cancer and stem cells.
  • supports projects that identify leukemia therapy tailored to children.
  • supports projects researching the causes of Alzheimer's or dealing with therapeutic aspects of the disease.

The Symphasis Foundation

The Symphasis Foundation, founded in 2002, supports and finances charities committed to social, humanitarian or environmental causes, culture, health and sports. The following is a selection of its existing funds:

  • finances projects that help sustain the last original tropical forests in Madagascar, Borneo and the Amazon region and which help the local population of these areas in establishing a livelihood.
  • supports projects that aim to enable elderly people to lead a more autonomous life and that contribute to the dialogue between different generations.
  • contributes to the education of disadvantaged children from Rio de Janeiro's poorest neighborhoods.
  • finances the construction of hospitals with maternity wards in Eritrea, providing a safe place for women to give birth to their children.

The SymAsia Foundation

SymAsia Foundation Ltd was established in 2010 as a company limited by guarantee with Credit Suisse as the sole subscriber. Via the SymAsia platform, donors may set up their own foundations and direct giving to charitable causes/organizations worldwide. SymAsia will disburse funds as directed. SymaAsia is managed by a professional Credit Suisse team and governed by an independent Board of Directors. SymAsia has partnered with donors to support and promote their charitable causes. Two examples are described in more detail below.

Beauty group Luxasia wanted a corporate responsibility strategy that aligned with its business. With SymAsia's help, the company supported a specially designed program focused on the rehabilitation of women ex-offenders by helping them build new professional skills. The Singapore-based Empowerment of Women Initiative resulted in the following:

  • Disadvantaged women are empowered with new skills and assisted with job placements.
  • Luxasia's founder and employees bond through active participation in the program.
  • Luxasia enjoyed positive media coverage that helped build up its brand equity.

Following the success of the pilot project in Singapore, the Empowerment of Women Initiative has expanded to the company's overseas branches and become its flagship corporate responsibility program.

Indonesian property developer Dr. Stephen Riady is a well-known philanthropist. Using the SymAsia platform, he decided to set up a personal foundation and individual corporate foundations for his various businesses. These are grouped under a single brand, the “Stephen Riady Group of Foundations”. This group branding is reflected on Dr. Riady's philanthropy website.

Today, the Stephen Riady Group of Foundations consists of seven foundations in Singapore and Hong Kong, with SymAsia helping to streamline the Group's charitable giving. Key causes supported are in the areas of education as well as humanitarian and social development.