Making good on returns
As Liontrust grows, it is giving back to the community and hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Setting aside some of the company’s accumulated profits into a fund, Liontrust’s founder Lim Wei-Jen and managing director Ashley Ong are building a socially responsible company.
When Liontrust’s founder Lim Wei-Jen started the trust and wealth management company in 2005, he set himself a personal long-term goal: he hoped, in time, to give back to the community when the company started doing well.
Managing director Ashley Ong said that the company’s desire to help others came naturally to the management team. Many of them came from humble backgrounds too. Ashley shared how his mother, a school sweeper, would often scrimp and save for her nine children, yet she would tell them that “(if they) had the means to help, do help.”
Ashley said, “To help others is a natural thing to do. It’s nothing special but it’s important that this value stays with our company.”
“We come into contact with people from all backgrounds. Many of them are fortunate to have a comfortable spending capacity. But we also know people who are struggling to make ends meet. We see the gaps in society and want to do our part to build a more inclusive home,” explained Wei-Jen.
In 2015, they decided to formalise their charitable giving and started the Liontrust Charity Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), which helped them put in place a system to structure their giving. Another reason why Liontrust chose to work with CFS was because of its wide network of partnerships with charitable organisations in Singapore, as well as its understanding of the community’s needs.
“To help others is a natural thing to do. It’s nothing special but it’s important that this value stays in our company.”
Ashley said, “Before starting with CFS, we talked about creating an internal committee, which would help to find targeted beneficiaries but that wasn’t the best use of our resources as many of us were not familiar with the charity sector. By setting up a fund with CFS, we are guided by professionals who have the breadth and depth of knowledge of the charitable landscape in Singapore. This is an immense help to maximise our reach to those whom we want to help.
“There are less-profiled charities that should be given some attention. But as a small company, we have limited resources to research all of the charities out there. CFS has the expertise to manage our fund and reach out to those who really need support.”
Through CFS, the company has supported charities focusing on children from disadvantaged backgrounds and with special needs. Some of the programmes include hospital transportation for children with muscle degeneration, tuition for disadvantaged children and assistive technology training for visually impaired children.
Wei-Jen hopes that other small companies will be inspired to start a fund, even if they don’t have a large amount to put up.
“Compared to larger organisations, what we do may be modest for a start but we want to help in whatever ways we can. With the fund, we are able to encourage our staff, as well as clients and associates to support the regular charity activities we organise – either through volunteering or monetary contributions. We are confident that the fund will keep growing to benefit even more recipients.”
He said, “I really appreciate the extra help that we got from CFS. After working with them, we feel there’s accountability as they help us make every dollar count.”