La Repubblica A&F | Aprile 2024

Why do more and more Italians decide to rely on the Networks to invest their savings? 88% today consider the “solidity and reliability” of the system an indispensable condition. This data underlines the importance that savers attach to the safety of their investment choices. Reputation and image are just one of the 5 factors that over a thousand Italian investors (mass market, affluent and private) have highlighted in the research “The value of the brand of Financial Advisory networks” produced by Finer for Assoreti, the Association of the Investment Advisory Companies and presented on the occasion of the Salone del Risparmio. Of the 5 factors mentioned, corporate image takes on an important weight for 24% of savers, preceded by one percentage point by “human capital” which remains on the podium (25%), and followed by attention to “products and services” offered (22%), “communication and propensity for innovation” (20%) and “social commitment” in the ESG context (9%). The human factor continues to be the distinctive feature of Reti banks due to the centrality of the person, which is enhanced for 79% of savers by the skills of the financial advisor and for 72% by the attention paid to the customer but also by the image and competence of the structure’s management (59%). Reputation characterizes the level of satisfaction with the brand image at 69%. The offer provided by the Networks is rewarded for 85% of investors by the asset, as well as financial, vision of the service which is appreciated in 49% of cases also thanks to the ability to be able to provide it in an increasingly multi-channel perspective. A figure that emerges of particular interest is the attention that investors pay to the financing and mortgage service (34%). The theme of communication and innovation today sees the capitalization of an effort by the Networks in terms of local initiatives, communication campaigns as well as recent cases of rebranding considered essential by savers and particularly recognized for transparency (63%), but also for an increasingly modern (62%) and innovation-oriented (61%) positioning.

In this context, there is also a growing sensitivity to social impact activities that the financial consultancy service is now able to offer both through support for the protection of family projects (37%) and growth opportunities for young people (33%) but also to the impact on the real economy generated by investing in support of businesses (23%). The combination of the human factor and innovation strengthens the attractiveness of the sector which at the end of last year saw the market share of the Networks system, defined with respect to the entire managed savings sector, standing at 25.3%.

38% of investors consider the direct relationship with financial advisors an essential factor to guarantee the continuity of the relationship and listening but, at the same time, also recognize the importance (39%) that the use of digital tools can play today as added value in synergy with the presence of a professional.

“The Networks are now also technological platforms, available to financial advisors, i.e. those who maintain a direct and personal relationship with the client. The success of the Networks lies precisely in the synthesis of this combination. An image that translates into the technology of a “Formula 1”, i.e. new digital services, available to the “pilot”, the financial advisor, who guides the industry in relations with investors. And today this is also an element of attraction for young people” comments Marco Tofanelli, General Secretary of Assoreti and adds “In Italy the financial consultancy model represents a unicum that investors, as reported by the results, also recognize thanks to a growing work of external communication that the Networks are promoting. This path has therefore seen greater awareness, precisely in the face of the current situation, in entrusting the management of savings and life projects into the hands of professionals who increasingly look at the entire allocation of family assets”.

“The value of the brand and the ability to communicate it is an indispensable asset for further expanding the customer base within the universe of Italian investors” comments Nicola Ronchetti, Finer CEO and author of the study – “The study has put highlights the great potential, partly still unexpressed, of the networks in spreading the value of their service model in general and at the same time the peculiarities of the individual bank networks, fundamental for increasing the level of competition and expanding the customer base”.<