April 13, 2016 – The Financial Times quoted SEP Director Marcello Messori in an article about the Italian rescue plan for the banking sector. In an initiative spearheaded by Minister of Economy and Finance Pier Carlo Padoan, a rescue fund is being set up with the aid of insurers, asset managers, and banking foundations, putting a combined €5bn into a backstop fund to bail out weaker lenders. This followed a six-hour meeting in Rome that was preceded by a drastic drop in share prices of Italian banks due to widespread concerns about their €360bn stockpile of non-performing loans. Named “Atlas,” this private fund seeks to circumvent EU regulations governing state aid, with Italy’s stronger banks (Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo) allotting hundreds of millions of euros for the purchase of unsold shares from cash calls of smaller banks that would otherwise be unable to meet European regulatory demands. In return for bailing out their weaker rivals, the Renzi government has committed to revising the country’s bankruptcy laws to meet EU standards. On these developments, Prof. Messori stated: “In principle, this is an initiative which needs to be shared by all parties because it is about the relations between the creditor and the debtor, but in Italy the political backdrop is difficult.”
- The original article is available in the print edition of the Financial Times.