MILAN – The “Capitals” bill will also be approved by the Chamber “by the end of the year”, assures the undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, Federico Freni. But for the operators of Piazza Affari it is not enough to relaunch the attractiveness of the Italian stock exchange. Thus at Palazzo Mezzanotte, on Monday afternoon, the “Manifesto for the development of capital markets” was presented, promoted by Assonime (the association of joint-stock companies), Borsa Italiana, the intermediation company Equita and Bocconi University, a document already signed by over 100 people, including managers, entrepreneurs and representatives of institutions.
The manifesto consists of ten concrete proposals covering topics such as domestic institutional investors, financial intermediaries, the activities of supervisory authorities and taxation. The objective is to “promote a structured and concrete industrial policy in favor of the capital markets in Italy”. For example, in order to resolve the issue of the reduced weight of investors in the capital of Italian listed companies, a “system effort” is proposed by the main banking, insurance and financial players to develop a project, sponsored by the government and authorities, to create 20 -25 portfolios (of 100-200 million each) or investment funds dedicated to small and medium-sized listed companies. And again: the creation of a fund of funds financed for 1 billion dedicated to SMEs is proposed. A change to the legislation on alternative PIRs (Individual Savings Plans) is then required. There is an entire chapter dedicated to the authorities in which it is proposed to “redefine the Consob governance model” to concentrate only the most relevant choices on the commission and instead delegate the other less important decisions to the operational structure. The streamlining of supervisory procedures is required. To combat the slowness of the judicial system, the path of “extending the competences of the judicial sections specialized in business matters to also include disputes relating to financial intermediation” is indicated.
On the fiscal front, the manifesto asks to “provide for a legislative measure aimed at encouraging risk capital”, especially for listed SMEs (for which a 3-year fiscal “grace period” is hypothesized) but also forms of deductibility that encourage greater differentiation in sources of financing. As? For example, making the interest on listed debt securities 100% deductible and the remaining forms of financing 80%.
Just a few examples, those shown here, of the poster presented. “We are witnessing an important phase of reforms aimed at strengthening the capital market – says the CEO of Borsa Italiana, Fabrizio Testa -. These are changes necessary to make our country increasingly competitive at an international level through the adoption of virtuous market practices”. Andrea Vismara, CEO of Equita, points out how “the capital market in Italy” finds itself “facing two key problems: the lack of investors specialized in mid-small caps and the limited presence of financial intermediaries who publish research on listed companies”. On the investor front, “our proposals aim to revitalize initiatives such as PIRs and Alternative PIRs, and to involve entities such as foundations, social security funds, pension funds and banking institutions which until now have been on the margins when it comes to investments in domestic entities. On the research front, however, we propose a series of solutions such as the tax credit on research costs incurred by broadcasters and the creation of a mutual fund that finances independent research. If these problems are not resolved as soon as possible, having a favorable regulatory context such as the one that is emerging thanks to initiatives such as the Capital Bill will not be sufficient to improve the capital market and make it competitive”.
In his speech Freni admits it: “The capital market is suffering”. However, adds the government representative, “we have worked over the last year. The government has intercepted this suffering for which we hope to provide a structural remedy by giving the market the structure you are asking for: more flexible and in step with other European markets”. To do this “there is no recipe but a set of recipes that will allow the capital market to have that European flavor that has been partially missing up to now”.