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'Tis the season to manage charity online

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Just in time for the holidays: a new online advisor platform to expedite charitable gifts to donor advised funds.

Fidelity Charitable’s recently launched GivingCentral platform allows advisors to set up and manage their clients’ Giving Accounts, as the donor advised funds are called there. Fidelity has also set up a service team to answer advisor questions on the accounts. The custodian’s RIA platform, WealthCentral, also will offer a single sign-on in mid-December that will let advisors manage brokerage accounts and advised funds in one place.

With $5.4 billion in assets at the start of 2011, Fidelity Charitable is the county's largest donor advised fund program. Schwab Charitable, with more than $3 billion in assets, has a platform for advisors who want to work with their clients’ advised funds; it’s embedded in the Schwab advisors’ platform, said Schwab Charitable Acting President Kim Laughton.

Laughton, by the way, officially becomes president of Schwab Charitable in January, following a decision by the group’s board last week. She succeeds Kim Wright-Violich, who left the group June 30 and is now a visiting executive scholar at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Laughton has been with Schwab for 17 years and joined Schwab Charitable in 2007, where she worked on strategy, product management, web development, marketing and public relations.

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