Advisor | April 2022  

“Preparati a una nuova musica” is the title of Consulentia 2022: financial consultancy is changing the tune, transitioning gradually from solo to concert.

There are three main elements which have marked its evolution.

The relationship with the bank/financial network

The relationship with the bank/financial network has transitioned from subsidiary to partnership.

Financial advisors and those who represent them inside (area, district, or regional managers) and outside of the financial network (Anasf) are acquiring authority among the management of financial networks and the company representing them (Assoreti).

This represents an important transition from historical opposition (natural and to some extent beneficial, at least back when financial promotion was seen with mistrust by bankers themselves) to an increasingly constructive dialogue. 

The higher level of constructiveness is of course the result of a more widespread use of dialectics on both parts, made more efficient by the results and the contribution that networks have given to the income statements of their groups.

In other words, networks of financial advisors have turned from Cinderella to princess with a rich dowry.

Just consider that twenty years ago, Corrado Passera, then CEO of Intesa and later of Intesa Sanpaolo, contemplated selling their financial network, deemed more complex than bank branches from the point of view of management.

The wealth management division, crown jewel of Gruppo Intesa Sanpaolo, is today called Fideuram and, under the direction of Tommaso Corcos, has brought together financial advisors and private bankers, while maintaining their respective peculiarities.

Of course, in twenty years the world has changed: bank branches as we know them do not seem to have long for this world. On the other hand, the network model has become an inspiration.

The relationship with third-party AMCs

The relationship with third-party AMCs has also radically changed: twenty years ago, very few AMCs would compete for the market of financial consultancy (JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, Merril Lynch today known as BlackRock, Schroders, Invesco and only one Italian, Anima). Today, they are over one hundred.

Once again, this was not an easy transition: it started with caution and winks spiced up with a dose of xenophilia, followed by a veritable hormonal storm that gave rise to a widespread tendency to open architecture.

Today, the market is in the hands of few AMCs. The twenty leading AMCs have a market share of 80% of the sector, and the space for other AMCs is limited only to those who excel in niche sections of the market, in turn more and more hard to find.

The relationship with clients

The relationship with clients has also changed. First of all, from a quantitative point of view: clients assisted by a financial advisor have increased over the last twenty years from just over two million to almost five.

But, and more importantly, the relationship with clients has changes also from a qualitative point of view: the financial advisor, once one among the many interlocutors for asset management, is now the main interlocutor also for the most demanding clients (entrepreneurs and private clients).

The tune has really changed, and it is sweeter than ever.

Nicola Ronchetti