Advisor | July August 2024

The financial consultancy networks continue their climb towards new heights, achieving one success after another and admirably overcoming the obstacles that arise in their path from year to year.

To testify that the success of their service model in Italy is not a bubble like many others, there are some events that well justify the positive judgment of many observers.

The desire to build or rebuild a network of financial advisors seems to be increasingly shared also by the banks which until now have been in the stands of the consultancy championship which has seen the main networks dominate.

ING, the Dutch group present in Italy for years and becoming famous for the Orange Account, has decided to refocus on the world of financial consultancy starting from its young and dynamic network, born in 2021.

These are young people with an average age of 30, 50 with an employee contract, another 150 classified as agents, all registered in the Register of Financial Advisors.

The objective of Matteo Pomoni, a life in ING, who returned to Italy as head of the financial consultant’s network, with the role of head of Investments and Wealth, is to recruit senior figures, with a significant portfolio capable of bringing skills and experience to young people colleagues.

It is worth remembering that ING already had a network of over 800 financial advisors, which merged into Xelion (UniCredit) in 2004 and then in turn into Fineco.

BPER, the fourth largest Italian banking group, has launched a project for the creation of its own network of financial advisors – Bper Financial Advisor.

The project manager is Dario Di Muro, a long-time professional who arrived from the Fideuram group, first in IW Bank ex UBI and in Deutsche Bank Financial Advisor (ex Finanza & Futuro), a year ago.

The network will be part of the new private & wealth management hub, Bper Banca Private Cesare Ponti led by Fabrizio Greco.

Even Banco BPM, the third largest Italian banking group, is looking with interest at the world of financial consultancy. Giuseppe Castagna, CEO of the Group, declared “among the things we don’t have today, the one we would most like to have is the network of financial consultants, because it would integrate and would complete our typology of offer”.

UniCredit today in great shape under the leadership of Andrea Orcel, after the sale of FINECO in 2019 carried out by his predecessor, does not have a network, and there are those who hypothesize a possible entry into the capital of the new bank born within the Azimut group, led by Paolo Martini.

This widespread desire to build a network starts from three considerations. The first is that the progressive banking desertification and the strong attitude of Italians towards personal relationships – even more so when talking about their savings – makes the financial advisor an indispensable figure.

The second is that the networks are modern banks, in which the right mix of human professional and digital platform allows us to proactively intercept the vast public of Italian savers and investors.

The third is that the growth potential of financial consultancy – in terms of unserved customers and masses – is enormous both within traditional banks and outside of them.

The desire to build a network of financial advisors to complement other channels is therefore easily understandable, but its implementation is much more complex.

We’ll see who will succeed and who will come back empty handed.

Nicola Ronchetti