Italy’s AM fails to attract the middle class

Italy’s asset management industry has increased by 5% over the past two years, but it has failed to attract the country’s middle class, a recent joint report by Intesa Sanpaolo and Einaudi has revealed.

From 2012, the percentage of investors has risen from 9 to 12%, with most part of the investments going to Sicavs (7.2%).

This trend was followed by investments in asset management products (5.9%), whereas the positions in ETFs (2.3%) or in unit linked policies (2%) are at a lower level.

Among the reasons for investing in asset management, the lower risk is important for over half the sample; the «simplification» requirement has been scaled down over the years (in 2012 it was
the top reason); while the search for yield had lost ground in 2013 and 2014, it has grown popular again during 2015. Three out of four investors still regard their bank as the favourite channel to buy funds.

The people stating they are satisfied with their asset management investments have now risen to 87.4% from 53.5% in 2005, whereas only 2% of non-investors stated their choice had not resulted from previous negative experiences.

How to join the middle class: the failure of the social lift. Italian middleclass households amount to 38.5% of the total in 2015, down from 57.1 as recorded in the 2007 sample; about 7 million Italians (3 million households) during the 2007-2014 crisis, have lost the fixing point that economically linked them to the middle class.

The income is one of the key elements underlying class membership: in the interviewees’ perception, it is the key aspect for the inclusion in the middle class (42% rank it first). This is followed by educational level (21%), assets (19%), and lastly intellectual work (18%).

Bonds between desire for security and low yields. The search for security is usually associated with bond investments, even at the expense of yield. The perception of bond security, after plummeting at the time of the sovereign debt crisis (2012), resumed an upward path from 2014.

This trend is confirmed in 2015: 29% of the sample rates the bond investment to be fully secure, as opposed to somewhat less than 18% in 2012.

Data shows that a little less than 20% of the households has owned bonds over the last five years, but this proportion is declining: down from 29% in 2007. The number of people who rate bonds as the best form of investment has also fallen from about 27 to about 20%.

However, the “aficionados” (mostly old savers that had familiarised with bonds at the time of double-digit yields), albeit decreasing, raise such number in the portfolio (over 36% allocate to bonds more than 30% of their assets; last year less than a quarter were above this threshold).

Click here to read full summary CS-Einaudi-sintesi_EN_

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