Insurance Daily | July 2021

Italians are a people of poets, artists, heroes, saints, thinkers, scientists, sailors, transmigrants etc. Italians are everything but investors.

Only one Italian out of four invests his/her savings in the financial markets. Moreover, Italian entrepreneurs are among the most reluctant to consider the financial center for possible quotation.

Many successful family businesses see the stock market as a limit to their decision-making autonomy; on the other hand, ruthless entrepreneurs see it as a way to make money at the expense of naïve investors. 

How can the industry of asset management successfully interact with the world of Italian businesses and, particularly, of small and medium-sized enterprises, which make the bare bones of our entrepreneurial system?

Italian families’ assets are worth 10.000 billion euros: about 6.000 billion euros have been invested in houses and lands; 1.000 billion euros have been invested in financial holdings; 1.000 billion euros go to pension funds and severance packages. The remaining 3.000 billion euros are more than the public debt.

Moreover, Italy is a bank-centered country. However, the crisis has turned banks into hospitals, burdened by the public debt and non-performing loans.

The Italian capital market is underdeveloped. In the UK, market capitalization amounts to 130% of the gross product, so businesses can draw nourishment from the financial market. On the other hand, Italy stands at only 30%; therefore, businesses must be financed by banks.

If the stock market does not grow, the recession is inevitably going to impact banks. And this is going to cause further distortion in the employment of savings.

Much can change with Next Generation EU, the recovery plan.

But much needs to change in the attitude of Italian entrepreneurs and businesses as well. Opening the capital to the market through quotation could be a great opportunity.

Italians are not prone to creating systems. The reasons are old and rooted in the history of the country: once leader of the world with the Roman Empire, Italy soon became land of conquest. Therefore, institutions and community are viewed with suspicion.

Expert bankers and financial advisors have the chance to act as mediators between entrepreneurs and capital market.

Introducing some of the best Italian companies to the stock market could change the face of our Country.

The Borsa Italiana élite programme is an excellent example. There are other instances involving AMCs: Azimut Libera Impresa, an integrated platform of products and services dedicated to entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as savers. The aim is to foster the provision of liquidity in real economy in order to stimulate its growth and make it sustainable in time, offering at the same time performance opportunities and creation of value for savers and investors.

These are all commendable initiatives in line with the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Nicola Ronchetti