Wall Street Italia | March 2023

The enormous amount of liquid assets in the checking accounts of Italians is rooted in our farming culture: stacking hay in the barn.

However, the ability to save money is joined by a general lack of trust in financial investments. In fact, for years Italians have been investing in Treasury Bonds, or BOTs, with guaranteed returns and capital protection.

Of course, discussing financial education when the taxation on government bonds amounts to 12,5% and the taxation of mutual funds amounts to 26% is quite paradoxical.

However, banks too should engage in self-criticism: 75% of savers with an average annual balance of €200.000 have not been contacted by a bank representative in over 12 months.

Moreover, such lacking proactivity comes with a deafening silence in terms of investments in communication and advertising. Advertising is notoriously at the heart of trading and plays a key role in strengthening the confidence pact with end investors.

Today, banks and insurance companies invest 1% of the market (amounting, in Italy, to €9BN) in communication. Among the top twenty spenders there are no banks or insurance companies.

In 2022, Poltrone e sofà invested more than €50 million in advertising. The first bank for investments is Banca Mediolanum, with a little over €10 million; then, Intesa Sanpaolo, with a little over €7 million, followed by BPER and UniCredit, with €5 million each; finally, BNL, CheBanca! and Fineco, with a little under €2 million each.

At the Wall Street Italia conference held in Milan on 16th February, two of the undisputed starts of the financial consultancy sector – Massimo Doris, Managing Director of Banca Mediolanum, and Alessandro Foti, CEO of Fineco Bank – offered some food for thought.

Banca Mediolanum organizes over 6.000 events every year – local customers soirees and events involving tens of thousands of current and potential clients throughout Italy.

Massimo Doris underlined the value of communication and advertising in strengthening the image and the confidence pact, but also for campaigns aimed at specific goals (for examples, 4% for six months for those who open a Selfy Conto and credit their salary).

With his Fineco, Alessandro Foti created one of the most widely appreciated campaigns based on the simplicity (with its slogan “la banca che semplifica la banca”) and accessibility of the first fully digital bank in Italy. He underlined that the satisfaction of clients and the word of mouth are the best kind of advertising.

Thus, Foti’s priority is not only doing, but doing well. In fact, communication strengthens the confidence pact, which depends on an excellent client experience: one million and four hundred thousand acquired clients confirm the validity of this strategy.

We can only agree with Doris and Foti. But, what about the other banks?

Nicola Ronchetti