La Trobe Financial gives back to community

by Antony Field06 Sep 2021

Non-bank lender La Trobe Financial, through its charitable foundation, has donated more than $17m towards improving the lives of Australians.

Established in 1952 and with $13bn of assets under management, La Trobe Financial is one of Australia’s oldest and leading asset managers specialising in finance and credit investment solutions for over 205,000 clients, and has advanced over $36bn in mortgage finance since inception.

A significant and positive impact on the economy

La Trobe Financial’s contribution to the Australian economy has been substantial, with over 72,000 jobs created as a result of its lending activities.

“For every $1m we advance there is an estimated corresponding $2.8m increase in GDP, while an estimated 57 annual FTE positions are maintained,” says Caterina Nesci, head of the foundation.

“The industry sectors where our real estate credit finance [REC-F] arm makes the biggest impact on employment are construction, and retail services. We have also returned 100% of capital and interest to every institutional and retail investor in our asset management pooled credit portfolios.”

But this unique-in-class operator, which is becoming increasingly known for its $6.5bn retail investor credit fund, also has a very active and long history in the philanthropic space through its dedicated La Trobe Financial Charitable Foundation.

Foundation chairman and CEO of La Trobe Financial Greg O’Neill OAM says there are many challenges that need to be addressed in our society.

“No one philanthropic foundation can expect to focus on all issues,” says O’Neill. “La Trobe Financial continues to focus on its cause to make a difference in people’s lives through its foundational pillars.

“Since inception in 1952, La Trobe Financial has dedicated itself to putting ‘others before self ’. This foundational principle has guided all of our activities and all of our business decisions and informs us on how to go about the very good work being done by our charitable foundation.”

The foundation has now donated more than $17m to charitable organisations and social projects to support people across the nation, including bushfire and flood relief, COVID-19 assistance, arts grants, medical science, and sponsorship of the careers of several notable high-performance athletes.

Key foundation partners include Epworth Hospital, Lifeline, the Australian Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Society of Women Leaders. Key high-performance athletes include five-time Olympian aerial skier Jacqui Cooper and two-time Olympian basketballer Chris Anstey.

The foundation’s work is complementary to La Trobe Financial’s business operations and sits side-by-side with its core objectives as a company.

“The foundation and the work it has done is to be applauded as it provides economic certainty for athletes who are training to represent our country at the highest levels,” says Cooper.

Nesci says the two projects the foundation is currently working on are:

A new cardiac catheterisation ward in a metropolitan hospital

In December 2020, with the support of the La Trobe Financial Charitable Foundation, the hospital built a state-of-the-art $5m cardiac ward, with cutting-edge technology. La Trobe Financial became Epworth HealthCare’s largest benefactor since the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne was established in 1920.

The opening of the cardiac ward marked the 40th anniversary of cardiac care at Epworth. Cardiac ward lead and director of the Cardiac Sciences Clinical Institute Professor Ron Dick says, “The ward has seen over 385 patients and has saved many lives already. This type of corporate philanthropy is very important to the lives of many.”

Three new catheterisation laboratories within the unit enable the treatment of patients requiring heart stents, pacemakers, arrhythmia management, structural heart disease, including percutaneous aortic valves, and improvement of peripheral vascular disease.

“Through the work of our foundation we are committed to investing in the advancement and wellbeing of our broader community and Australians from all walks of life,” Nesci says. “We are proud to partner with Epworth to improve the wellbeing of the community and make a difference to the lives of others.”

Education: Financial Literacy Campaign for Women

Research shows that 42% of Australians have experienced financial concerns and hardship due to the effects of COVID-19. For many women, achieving financial independence and maintaining a reasonable standard of living can be a concern, as women are generally considered to earn less than men.

Despite experience with household budgets, women can still doubt their ability to manage money and have trouble finding trusted, independent financial information.

Women of all ages and backgrounds can be uncomfortable talking about money with an existing or new partner. This lack of communication can entrench stereotypes of men being the financial providers and decision-makers, leaving women vulnerable to financial abuse and loss of financial control over their lives.

La Trobe Financial wanted to help women become more financially literate during these trying times. To bring this objective to life, the charitable foundation partnered with Are Media and launched the Financial Literacy Campaign for Women. This included a six-month campaign educating women on financial matters through editorial content published in the Australian Women’s Weekly and Better Homes and Gardens magazines. Women were given tips and savings plans as well as resources such as templates on how to start building wealth no matter their age.

The campaign has so far included lunchtime events held in Sydney and Melbourne, with special guest speakers Effie Zahos, one of Australia’s leading financial commentators, and Lilian Chin, La Trobe Financial’s director of client partnerships, who shared their tips on how to start building wealth for women independent of men.