Italy’s business and financial capital is undergoing a resurgence as the city is looking at a “niche strategy” addressed at private equity, asset management and fintech to take the lead in post-Brexit Europe, the FT writes.

Few weeks ago I stumbled in a press release announcing that

In the latest sign of growth in Italy’s Fintech market, the country’s largest domestic and foreign players have set up the sector’s first trade association, ItaliaFintech.

Nineteen leading Fintech companies among the main vertical players operating In Italy with a Europe-wide portfolio of nearly 1 million customers, (of which 425,000 and counting in Italy), 448 million euros of savings, loans and managed payments and a total investment capacity of 253 million euros joined together to form the first trade association with the aim of helping companies and individuals to access fintech services.

According to Statista, transaction value in the Italian fintech market amounts to 32,830 million euros in 2018 and is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 12.8% resulting in 53,073 million euros in 2022.

Pictured above: Palazzo S32 in via Filippo Sassetti 32. In September 2017, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and the City of Milan opened the “Milan Fintech District”, the country’s first hub dedicated to businesses in the financial industry. (Pic Source: Urbanfile)

ItaliaFintech’s spokesperson Ignazio Rocco di Torrepadula, founder and CEO of the invoice trading platform Credimi, said:

Fintech boosts the financial opportunities for Italian families and businesses and generates economic growth. These numbers are just the beginning of an ever-accelerating rise. The members of ItaliaFintech will work as part of a team, together with similar European associations, to facilitate the access of Italian companies and individuals to new sources of financing and innovative services in the Fintech domain. They will also be a point of contact for regulators improving the understanding of the evolution trends and contributing to the ultimate protection of consumers.

Oliver* met with him to find out more about the fintech movement in Italy and how ItaliaFintech could contribute to help that flourish.

Pictured above: ItaliaFintech’s spokesperson Ignazio Rocco di Torrepadula, founder and CEO of the invoice trading platform Credimi. (Pic Source: Crowdfundinsider)

OLIVER*: Hi Ignazio and thank you for joining us.

IGNAZIO ROCCO DI TORREPADULA: Hi Oliver* and thank you for having me.

O*: Ignazio, first thing first how is fintech doing in Italy?

I: The fintech market has been growing over the past years even though we are still smaller than the UK. Indeed, it has been done a great job over the past couple of years. For example, both the Bank of Italy and the Italian Ministry of Economy Finance created ad hoc committees to foster dialogue between the industry and the regulator. Also fiscal incentives to set up new businesses and give Italian expats the possibility to get back to their country have been beneficial to nurture the ecosystem.

O*: But it still remains relatively small, you said. So, what to do more and better?

I: Improving speed of creating new ventures, including regulatory simplifications, for example. But we have also to roll our sleeves up to make the most of the PDS2 regulation in view of the opportunity it gives companies to develop new services.

O*: In the current global political scenario, what’s the role a city like Milan can play?

I: Milan can play a pivotal role for fintech. Milan is a beautiful, busy and vibrant city where to live: it offers global education and a mature and innovative business environment not to mention on one side the traditional finance know-how and, on the other, top class IT expertise.

O*: An open approach to competition seems to be a prerequisite for survival in the digital economy. How traditional players are doing in this respect?

I: Partnership with banks are more frequent now than in the past when they were used to wait and see. Indeed, they have approached a new phase developing internal fintech investment units. This is a true shift toward a new era for financial services.

Milan, Italy’s biggest start-up hub, is an exciting city to live as it has a very active social life. The city’s hosting of Expo 2015 was key in giving the city a boost, experts argue.

O*: What will be ItaliaFintech’s areas of main focus for the years to come?

I: Along with PSD2, EU’s Fintech Action Plan, Mifid and the Capital Market Union Action Plan, we will be focusing on the European Regulation on Crowdfunding and on Italy’s PIR (i.e. long-term Individual Savings Plans benefiting from tax incentives to encourage savers to invest in small and medium-sized Italian firms) regulation.

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O*: Forward-looking, what are ItaliaFintech’s plans for the years to come?

I: We aim to expand whilst bringing into the system top quality. This means that if on one side we welcome new members, on the other we try to favour high quality standards of new associates.

O*: How?

I: We have a few but simple rules. For instance, we do not accept projects which are not full-time as well as pure research projects. Moreover, we reject projects which do not have a solid team and credible investors behind. Lastly, all the organizations asking for membership have to comply with the current regulation.

Find out more about ItaliaFintech here.