New managers born of Italian funds M&A

Consolidation resulting from the current market turmoil is reshaping the fund management scene in Italy.

Continued market turmoil and sector consolidation in Italy has forced a number of banks and fund managers to r­eassess their priorities, resulting in a succession of mergers and acquisitions.

The latest arrival in the fund management sector is Anima Sgr, born from a merger with rival fund ­manager Prima Sgr. The merger agreement has been in the works since 2009, with the details finally signed off on 31 December last year. The merger creates one of the largest asset managers in Italy. This puts Anima among the leaders of Italy’s fund management sector, after Intesa Sanpaolo (€208.7bn, for Eurizon Capital and Fideuram), the leading Italian insurance group Banca Generali (€134.2bn), UniCredit (Pioneer Investments, €107.7bn) and Mediolanum (€38.7bn).

Among Italy’s independents, however, Anima now stands as the biggest fund manager (€34.7bn), well ahead of its nearest rivals Azimut (€15.1bn) and Arca (also €15.1bn), in terms of assets under management.

Anima reborn

The ‘new’ Anima has been in operation for more than a year already, repositioned not so much as a funds f­actory but more as a provider of financial services to the ­consumer. It has more than €37bn in assets under ­management (including pension funds), a range of 120 funds distributed through 150 networks and 15,000 ­financial advisers and consultants.

The main shareholders of Anima, via the holding c­ompany Asset Management Holding, are Italian private equity firm Clessidra (with 38.1% of the shares), Banca Popolare di Milano (36.3%) and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (23.4%).

The chief executive, in charge of day-to-day ­operations, is Marco Carreri, with Armando Carcaterra as chief ­investment officer. The supervisory board is headed by Giuseppe Zadra, the president of AM Holding, assisted by Francesco Minelli and Maurizio Biliotti. The new ­management team emerged after the previous team, headed by Alberto Foa’, left to set up their own fund ­management business, called AcomeA.

Common to both firms is a belief that, after years of domination by the banking and insurance groups, the Italian fund management sector needs to regenerate, by reconnecting with the virtues of asset management as a socially responsible activity that gives top priority to the needs of the investor.

This principle is enshrined in AcomeA’s unusual name (literally, ‘A, as in A’). It refers to the principles of transparency and clarity, which the management believes should be the foundation for all asset management operations, given they have the responsibility for handling the assets of other people, their clients.  

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