ADVISOR | October 2021

Competition is exciting and well-loved amongst those who have had to pass through fire and not be burnt, such as financial advisors: ridiculed at first, they are now praised as a successful service model.

Somewhere between a free agent and a gladiator, the financial advisor has been compared and opposed to the bank model from its very debut in the early 70s.

After more than 50 years, Italian financial advisors have become more ecumenical and less sharp and have also achieved well-deserved recognition and maturity. Most of them have gained wellbeing and serenity as a result of years of battle.

So, is it still appropriate to oppose financial networks to banks? While the vast majority of financial networks is part of an insurance or banking group, maybe it would be more accurate to describe their relationship as coopetition rather than competition.

In fact, there is evidence that attests to a trajectory of parallel convergence: first of all, today banks seem to focus less on their traditional activity in the field of credit and loans and more on asset management and insurance products.

Of course, the lending activity absorbs capital and has a high level of risk – one need only think of the amount of non-performing loans threatening more than one banking group.

But today the true challenge is to face the unexplored lands made of savings (only 25% of Italians invest their savings) and to solve once and for all the issue of underinsurance (only 10% of Italians are adequately insured). 

Not surprisingly, Intesa Sanpaolo is currently focusing on two key objectives: becoming the first Italian insurance company in the field of non-life insurance, aiming at a unified wealth & protection model.

Intesa Sanpaolo Assicura, Eurizon Capital, Fideuram Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking with the three financial networks (Fideuram, San Paolo Invest and IW Bank) are firmly moving forward together with Banca dei Territori led by Stefano Barrese, with 50.000 employees, 13.5 million clients, 800 billion euros between employees and revenues.

The efficiency of internal processes, the ability to personalize the offer, the hybridization of physical and digital models thanks to the optimal use of apps and digital platforms are the true objectives of those who wish to establish themselves in the field of asset management and protection.

And this concerns both financial networks and banks, aside from potential preferences for ore model or the other.

So, we support the best, sure that the market will be the true judge and that both banks and financial networks will hopefully come out on top.

Nicola Ronchetti