Investire | July 2021

Only 25% of Italians invest their savings in financial markets. In fact, Italian investors are the most reluctant in Europe to get listed on the Stock Market.

The Stock Market has two main limits: on the one hand, several successful family businesses see it as a limitation to their decision-making autonomy; on the other hand, ruthless entrepreneurs take advantage of it as a way to make money at the expense of unaware investors.

Two examples among many.

Firstly, Pastificio Rana: when Gianluca, Giovanni’s son, took the reins, the company had 35 employees. Today, Pastificio Rana counts 4000 employees, and its turnover is expected to exceed 1 billion euros in 2021.

In 2020, after the outbreak of the pandemic, Mr. Rana decided to increase the salaries of his employees by 25%. When asked if he has ever considered Stock Market listing, he answers that the history of his company does not include the Stock Market and that, if he wishes to reward his employees, he is going to do so regardless.

On the other hand, Bio-On: a listed company based in Bologna operating in the bioplastics sector, Bio-On is currently under investigation for circulating false information and market manipulation.

The current condition of the Italian Stock Exchange is far from being reassuring. After the delisting of Ubi, CreVal and Cattolica’s forthcoming delisting, from the beginning of 2020 the net emissions of debt securities and listed shares by Italian businesses are worth 16 billion euros, much less than French (101 billion euros) or German companies (87 billion euros).

Of course, the Stock Exchange represents the market: it is unforgiving and makes no concessions.

Let’s take, for example, France: its Stock Market has become the European preferred destination for the incursions of the Anglo-Saxon activist funds.

One of the most striking examples is Danone, where the activist funds managed to change the company’s strategies and CEO; or, more recently, the attempt to oppose Bolloré, considered a “financier” among French entrepreneurs, on the reorganization of Lagardère.

In fact, some entrepreneurial dynasties still believe that they can manage as leaders businesses which have long turned into public companies.

Moreover, there is also the issue of private markets: once considered the antechamber of the Stock Market, they are today its alternative.

It is a rapidly expanding market with an estimated growth of 60% by 2025 and managed assets worth 17.000 billion; moreover, it is witnessing the entry of giants of the caliber of BlackRock, Vanguard and JP Morgan.

There are two main ways to grow in the business of private markets: acquiring/establishing agreements with specialized and well-established third parties or creating a dedicated team.

Networks of financial advisors, ahead of our time in terms of asset management, are an example of excellence on both fronts.

34% of financial advisors and 27% of their clients see investments in private markets as an option to gain profit.

Maybe, considering all this, Mr Rana has a point.

Nicola Ronchetti