AP Private | March-April 2022

The Italian market of private banking is in great turmoil. Leading private banks are currently competing to win the best bankers, as testified by the many changes occurring over the past months.

Some international businesses have decided to bet on Italy quickly and decisively. They have increased the number of bankers tenfold in just over a year, to the detriment of other businesses which risk closing down or will need to lower their growth prospects.

Some of these recruitments are worthy of the football market, with a gross annual income worth three/four thousand euros, in addition to entry bonuses on the portfolio transfer, which can reach four percent.

It is the case of the recruitment of successful professionals, which implies the acquisition of assets in addition to bankers.

A few words must be spent on businesses that already hold a consolidated position in our Country and incur in the opposite problem: more clients and assets under management than qualified professionals.

In this case, the recruitment process focuses more on specialized figures or young talents, who are not necessarily equipped with a portfolio, but have high growth prospects.

These are two different strategies, which could be metaphorically defined as the strategy of the sprinter (everything at once and in a few seconds with ostentation of muscle power) and the strategy of the marathon runner (resistance and resilience for a finish line to be reached in no less than two hours of sweat and strain).

The two growth strategies are both valid. However, they are different disciplines and much depends on the points of departure – growth towards consolidation – and the type of clients and professionals involved.

These two strategies can often coexist within the same bank.

There is, however, another discriminating factor in the recruitment market: the kind of leader and their leadership style.

To sum up, we can say that there are two types of leaders: 1) the pure manager, endowed with organizational abilities and business vision, fully focused on managing and motivating his/her bankers; 2) the operational manager, who manages their bankers as well as their own client portfolio and is very active in the acquisition of new clients and in generating opportunities for growth for his/her team.

These two different types of leader are often related to the size of the bank and the number of bankers: the larger the size of the bank and the number of bankers, the more complex it is for the leader to manage their clients directly.

There is however a clear fact: when the leader is operational and proves their value on the field giving a real contribution to their bakers, the loyalty towards the bank increases while the turnover of professionals decreases.

May this be a subliminal message to the leaders of private banking: roll up your sleeves and prove that you are capable of what you are asking your bankers.

Nicola Ronchetti