MILAN (Reuters] – A variety of financial companies including UniCredit, Credit Agricole(OTC:) and Amundi (OTC 🙂 sponsored Italy’s first private equity fund for retail investors.
The fund, HOPE, aims at raising 500 million euros ($581,000,000) from small- and large-scale savers as well as professional investors.
The Bank of Italy reported that the total net financial assets of Italian households was 3,809 billion euro at the close of 2020. Despite the uncertainties wrought by the pandemics, deposits increased by 85 billion euro last year. This is more than double the annual average growth over the past five years.
Claudio Scardovi, CEO of HOPE told Reuters that the idea behind HOPE was to channel Italy’s vast private savings into the country’s real economy in order to drive economic growth.
The project’s backers include Italy’s largest insurer Generali (MI), the banks Banco BPM and BPER, as well as the Italian branch of France’s BNP Paribas. (OTC)
The venture has received funding from sponsors. Some have even made a commitment to the fund’s launch.
Scardovi explained that Italy must grow in order to maintain its public debt. It is partly being financed by the European Central Bank and other members of the euro zone, such as France and Germany.
Rome’s extraordinary economic support measures during the COVID-19 crises have raised Italy’s debt to 2,726 Billion Euros, making it one of the largest in the world. This is more than 1.5 times its domestic production.
This country is suffering from chronically slow growth and hopes to reduce its debt burden with the help of post-pandemic recovery.
As investors seek returns in the face of negative rates, high valuations and low liquidity on financial markets, private equity funds have been experiencing a boom.
Scardovi was a former consultant at AlixPartners. He stated that inflation is imminent and that investing in non-listed assets would be the best defense strategy.
“We aim to provide ordinary Italians with access to private capital… through putting a part of their savings in an diversified portfolio which includes exposure to real estate and corporates.”
HOPE is aiming to achieve a double-digit return on investments. Consob, the Italian regulator, has yet to give Consob its approval before it can distribute its products via financial institutions it backed.($1 = 0.8611 euros)
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