Intesa's Fideuram Arm Targets Switzerland to Boost Business

(Bloomberg) -- Fideuram, the wealth management and private-banking unit of Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, is focusing on Switzerland as it seeks to increase assets under management from operations outside Italy to as much as 20 billion euros ($23 billion) by 2021.

“We plan to grow abroad organically, by hiring advisory teams and through possible acquisitions of small banks in Switzerland, targeting Italian wealth abroad” Fideuram Chief Executive Officer Paolo Molesini said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Milan. “We want to create a hub for our international business in Switzerland.”

The firm earlier this year completed the acquisition of Morval Vonwiller Holding SA, based in Geneva and Lugano, to develop the private-banking business in the country. Competitor Banca Generali SpA this week announced the purchase of a Swiss wealth management firm to enter in the market.

Key Points From Interview

  • In Switzerland, Fideuram is “targeting small banks focused on wealth management and private banking with less than 10 billion euros of assets. At the moment we are not reviewing any specific firm.”
  • The company plans to expand the private bankers’ network abroad to 300 people from about 200 now.
  • Fideuram wants a share of the the 100 billion euros of Italian wealth in Switzerland. Molesini expects AuM outside Italy to rise from the current 5 billion euros to somewhere between 15 billion euros and 20 billion euros.
  • Fideuram’s office in London will report to the Swiss hub by March. “With Brexit, the City lost part of its appeal because it hasn’t turned out to be an efficient place for Italian wealth.”
  • Expects inflows from Italian operations to remain in line with 2018 levels, while foreign contribution will increase over the plan period
  • CEO foresees gains of market share in Italy, reaching 25 percent in private banking by 2021 from current 20 percent.
  • Fourth quarter is going well despite market volatility, with growth-trend in line with previous months.

Digging Into Firm

  • Fideuram, founded 50 years ago, is the oldest Italian asset manager, offering a range of banking and financial services through a network of 6,057 financial advisers focusing on private banking and wealth management. The company manages about 220 billion euros of assets and its net income stood at 657 million euros in the first nine months of the year.
  • The firm aims to become one of the top five private banks in Europe and No. 2 in the Euro zone in terms of assets under management. It’s goal is net inflows of 54 billion euros and total assets of about 300 billion euros in 2021.
  • Asked about a possible listing of Fideuram, Molesini said the decision rests with parent company. “A listing would be seen as a positive by the unit’s management because it would give more visibility to the company, while keeping the advantage of being part of a great bank.”

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