Bluerating | January 2023

For better or for worse, 2022 has been a memorable year.

Needless to say, no asset class survived the craze of the market, which had not been as out of control since the seventies.

Inflation, the rise in interest rates and the loss of purchase power have affected in particular the middle class; however, they did not spare the most affluent segments of the population, that is private clients and HNWIs.

On the other hand, thanks to the rate hike, banks closed 2022 in better conditions than in the past. Moreover, the ongoing reorganization process has made banks simpler and more efficient.

Of course, the journey is still long, especially considering that recession always comes with a deterioration in the quality of credit and the crisis of several small and medium sized businesses.

Considering the general context, financial networks have close yet another exceptional year. Of course, growth rates are no longer as high as a few years ago.

In fact, asset management has to compete with government bonds, bank bonds and the presence of liquid assets on checking accounts which, in the eyes of the majority of Italians, represent a miracle cure in case of need.

However, not all that glitters is gold, even when it comes to financial networks. Compared to one year ago, the levels of satisfaction expressed by the financial consultants involved in FINER’s ongoing monitoring have been decreasing on more than one front.

Of course, the performance of investment products has become an issue for many financial professionals, especially when it comes to clients with a low level of tolerance to volatility and risk aversion.

However, with due exceptions, operations, digital platforms and tools have passed the test.

The relationship between financial advisors and network management (represented by the leaders of the businesses involves) marked a strong point of discontinuity with the past.

In particular, the level of satisfaction with the possibility to interact with the management has, with due exceptions, decreased on average by 10% compared to the previous year.

In fact, several financial professionals feel that, in times of hardship as the past twelve months have been, the gap between themselves and the management tends to widen.

Many have felt like soldiers called to fight alone at the front.

Moreover, the level of satisfaction with the involvement in business decisions has decreased by 9%. In fact, business decisions are being perceived more and more as a top-down process, implemented without prior notice.

As a result, the level of trust in the management leading financial networks has decreased by 6%.

Clearly, the general context has been a contributing factor to the drop of the indicators. Therefore, as the wind changes, we will hopefully witness to an increase in the levels of satisfaction.

Once again, the role of the management remains key in motivating and supporting financial advisors, especially in moments of difficulty.

Ultimately, we need top managers able to take the field and get in the game, in addition to giving direction from the bleachers, especially when the going gets tough.

Nicola Ronchetti