LA BCE DETTA LE NUOVE REGOLE DI VALUTAZIONE DEGLI NPLs

Articolo di Andrea Tosatto
 

Il legislatore europeo sta aggiornando i parametri di valorizzazione dei crediti in bilancio per le banche europee rendendoli più stringenti. Le linee guida della BCE sulla gestione degli NPL prevedono la necessità di predisporre adeguati accantonamenti e riduzioni per le esposizioni deteriorate in tempi brevi con l’obiettivo di rendere i bilanci bancari più solidi e di permettere alle banche di erogare maggiore credito.

L’Addendum predisposto da BCE si pone come fine quello di integrare queste linee guida sugli NPL, rendendole come detto più stringenti e stimando dei livelli minimi prudenziali di accantonamento per le esposizioni deteriorate. Le stime per gli accantonamenti tengono ora conto anche dell’ammontare di tempo per cui un’esposizione è definita deteriorata dall’istituto, distinguendo tra quelle garantite e quelle non garantite. L’Addendum predisposto dalla Banca Centrale Europea prevede quindi delle svalutazioni più elevate per quei crediti considerati dalle banche come deteriorati da un certo numero di anni e non garantiti. Quest’ulteriore regolamentazione è stata introdotta per evitare che elevati importi di NPL con scarse garanzie rimanessero iscritti nei bilanci bancari per un numero eccessivo di anni; si ritiene infatti che i crediti deteriorati debbano essere aggregati in modo tempestivo per via dei loro effetti dannosi sull’economia. Le regole aggiuntive dettate nell’Addendum sugli NPL si applicano a tutte le banche significative sottoposte a vigilanza diretta da parte della BCE; queste non intendono sostituire le regole dettate dalle linee guida e dalle altre disposizioni e non sono vincolanti per le banche che devono però motivare la mancata applicazione e il mancato raggiungimento dei requisiti minimi richiesti.

La disciplina definita nell’Addendum in un certo senso rivoluziona il trattamento degli NPL, prevedendo che, a partire dall’1 aprile 2018, tutti i crediti in bonis che verranno riclassificati come deteriorati saranno considerati Non Performing Loans e, per questo, soggetti a vigilanza prudenziale. Queste disposizioni non sono vincolanti per le banche ma rientrano nelle aspettative della BCE; dal punto di vista quantitativo, queste regole prevedono che, per le esposizioni non garantite, dopo due anni dalla riclassificazione a NPLs sia prevista un accantonamento del 100%. Per quanto riguarda invece gli NPL garantiti l’Addendum segue un approccio più graduale a partire dal terzo fino al settimo anno (si veda la tabella in calce per lacopertura delle esposizioni deteriorate proposta nell’Addendum sugli NPL e l’immagine per il funzionamento del meccanismo previsto dall’Addendum). Le disposizioni previste dall’Addendum della BCE non prevedono però degli automatismi nell’applicazione delle regole sopra esposte bensì delle valutazioni caso per caso sulle diverse situazioni; le banche europee soggette alla disciplina dell’Addendum avranno un periodo tempo per adeguarsi alle aspettative delineate dalla BCE, la disciplina sarà infatti applicata da aprile 2018 ma la vigilanza in materia scatterà dal 2021.

 

Le regole definite nell’Addendum saranno applicate come detto in uguale misura in tutte le banche significative dell’UE, anche a quelle italiane. Si rende quindi necessario comprendere e definire quale sarà l’impatto dell’Addendum anche per le nostre banche; secondo recenti stime il costo per le banche significative italiane sarà al massimo di circa 4.5 miliardi di Euro. L’effetto è sicuramente minore rispetto a quello stimato appena dopo l’introduzione delle regole dettate nell’Addendum; merito sicuramente di alcuni fattori che hanno contribuito a ridurre gli accantonamenti inizialmente previsti. Innanzitutto il lavoro fatto dalle banche italiane sui loro bilanci che hanno proceduto preventivamente a ridurre in questi mesi le esposizioni deteriorate ha portato a ridurre gli accantonamenti inizialmente stimati. Il miglioramento generale delle condizioni economiche in Italia, l’applicazione dei nuovi principi di valutazione contabile definiti dall’IFRS 9 e la riduzione del flusso di nuovi NPL hanno contribuito a raggiungere questo risultato.

 

È quindi in una situazione di redditività discendente e volatile e in cui è però molto difficile per gli istituti implementare delle possibili soluzioni e innovazioni che si può contestualizzare il sistema bancario italiano dei nostri giorni. La nota positiva è che nel complesso il sistema bancario ha retto alla crisi economica e gli stress test europei lo confermano, anche se permangono le difficoltà nella gestione degli NPLs.

Views of the future: Impact of technology on employment and human life

It is clear that one of the main and most important discussion issues nowadays, is the impact of technology in our life. Not only talking about the people involved in science or technology, but the daily life of the common of the people. Weather we talk about smartphones, computers or software; it seems that technology has come to every aspects of our lives, and it will stay for good.

While we are getting used to the newest technology in the market, another version or a replacing technology emerges at the time, and the speed of improving doesn’t seem to slow down. In fact, it is more likely that the speed of new technology creation augments instead of slowing down, and this is because with the help of more and more technology it becomes easier to create more. It is more or less like having better tools, to create better results.

And one of the crucial issues on the matter is the rising of Artificial Intelligence, or AI as it will be referred. AI is very sophisticated software or device, which has the capability of reprograming itself for better achieving the results for which it was created for. And this is why it is said that it is capable to “learn”, because through experimentation it is capable to improve itself.

The rise of AI is of particular importance, because it is said to have the capabilities to reshape the world where we live. It is that important, that the World Economic Forum has called it the 4th industrial revolution, which it is going to be characterized by the presence of these super intelligent machines in the productive sector. And every aspect of human life is said to be involved. As far as today, AI devices are capable of producing their own art, such as music and paintings. AI from Google and Facebook are said to have produce their own language. In the finance sector, AI is used to stock trading.

And this is, because with more and more reliability in machines, the role of human being in the productive sector is reduced, or replaced. Many of the current professions are said to disappear, or to be replaced. First, mechanical or relatively easy jobs, and later on more complex professions, such as professors, lawyers or even doctors or engineers. Of course, this is not going to happen immediately, and the timing for it to happen depends on many forthcoming factors.

All of these suppositions have a strong impact on the job market, and in the general view of the future from the part of the population. And the big question is, is it fair to replace human beings with machines? If a machine, robot or software is able to fulfill a task in a better, faster and with less cost, is it bad to replace human beings in the productive field? In fact, recently there was a scandal because certain CEO’s of fast food chains have publicly said that they were happily to replace the human workers for robots. But isn’t it the job of the firm to look for their own interests?

We are not worried per se about losing our jobs; we are worried about income and relevance uncertainty. Because most of the tasks that can be replaced by machines are considerate as “work”, job or effort, and human nature is in a constant search for reducing the effort that needs a task to be fulfilled. In fact, one of the main differences to differentiate the leisure time from the working time is the same that we human beings have in comparison to machines: is the capability to enjoy. A task is considerate as a job if it takes effort, otherwise if we enjoy it is leisure time. One of the ways of defining work is the trade of time, effort and abilities for a wage, and thus exchanging time that could be used as leisure, or achieving different kind of goals. Because the machines don’t have the capability to enjoy things, the difference in the exchange of leisure and working time does not apply to them.

In the first half of the 20th century, John Maynard Keynes, considerated one of the greatest minds in the economical science, had a very particular vision of the working week of the future. He believed, that with the help of the machines, we would only have to work very reduced times, such as 15 hours per week. Human basic needs, as well as resources would be easily fulfilled with the help of the machines, and humanity would could focus on the

development of human spirit, occupying our times with arts, sports or basically anything that we want to do to heighten our human condition.
Was Keynesian view of the future wrong, or should we still have to aim for it with the help of AI? And most important, are these wishes for society still relevant?

But current views of the future does not seem that positive, and instead of thinking in a world with less effort and more of free time, we tend to look at the future as a place with the need of more skills in order to be able to perform in the next job market. Humanity is not worried about losing the jobs per se, is worried about losing the relevance in the productive field, and thus losing the income. In this technological world, the owners of the technology would be the ones who get the profits. In this technological world, inequality would become bigger and bigger, because it would be harder to compete against more and more sophisticated technology. And the owners of this technology would be the ones to take profits out of it, being mainly big companies.

And this is what we are seeing in the modern world with the big companies such as google, apple and Microsoft. Because of the wealth belongs to the ones who own the production means, it would be harder to compete against this technology.

Inequality is as well one of the main topics in the global agenda nowadays. Inequality comes with a wide range of consequences, some of them good some of them bad. For example, historically seen many of the causes of the revolutions have its causes on inequality, such as the French and Russian revolution. Inequality fosters the crime, violence and competitiveness in a society, but as well inequality is considerate to have a positive impact in the economic growth of a society. After a Credit Suisse study, the 1% of the population holds the 48% of the global wealth in the world.

Because of the tight link between the welfare of society, politics and government, one of the main tasks of the public sector is to maximize social welfare. And this includes the state position regarding inequality of the population, applying or not measures to control it, which is again one of the main discussions in the public economic sector.

Is it fair to apply taxes to those who produce more to help the ones who have the less? Why should we help to those who do not make an effort? Isn’t it the very objective of human work, to have a reward because of our own effort?

All of this are hypothetical situations, but if technology continues with its exponential growth soon we are not going to be dealing with technological issues, but instead with social and ethical issues regarding employment, and inequality. Our problems are not going to be related about the production of resources, but rather their distribution.
A right or wrong answer to this kind of issues does not exist. We can only think of a better implementation of the public policies, and this are going to be the ones who favorites the most of individual of a given society, and at the same time help to grow the economic growth. Because of the nature of these social issues, the main dilemma remains an ethical one, and the best way to produce a better response is with a better understanding of current circumstances. And most important of all, is by not forgetting that the ultimate goal of economics is to improve people’s everyday life.

 

Abraham Anchondo
Ca Foscari Student, QEM Master Program

Future’s Work: Threats and Opportunities

THE FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES AND THE BIG OF THE SILICON VALLEY

Our lives are changing faster and faster, every day there are new types of technologies and it is nearly impossible to assimilate all the information regarding these topics.

Following the evolution of technologies has become essential and not doing so would mean to be excluded from the society in which we live.

From today to the next 5 years, the hot topics will be: Hyperloop, self-driving car, mind sharing, helpful home, sharing economy, self-tracking, quantified self, nano architectures, apple pay, cinematic reality, car-to-car communication, project loon, liquid biopsy, brain organoids, superhuman photosynthesis, large-scale desalination, DNA internet, neuro-hacking, quantum, nanotechnology, darker networks, universal translators, avatars, robots, fuel cell vehicles, thermosetting recyclable plastic, genetic engineering, additive manufacturing, distributed production, drone “sense and avoid “, neuromorphic technology, digital genome, digital assistants, free internet for all, quantum computers, space vacations, ultra-reality, disease prevention, x-ray, big date and pollution control.

These are just some of the topics we’ll have to deal with, many of them, although they have been developing for some years, may be still unknown to most readers.

Getting informed has become essential in order to adapt ourselves in the best way.

We are faced with an unprecedented technological revolution: in order to stay updated it is necessary to follow people that are doing the future right now. Silicon Valley’s Big 9 are Peter Shankman (founder of Haro), James Altucher (entrepreneur, podcast and author), Alec Cross (former senior consultant of Hilary Clinton and author), Mariam Naficy (Minted.com CEO and board member of Yelp), Chamath Palihapitiya (Chief Financial Officer), Kevin Rose (Hodinkee’s CEO and Digg’s co-founder), Sam Rosen (CEO of MakerSpace), Andrew Torba (AutomateAds.com) and Tim O’Reilly (founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media).

TECHNOLOGY AND THE WORLD OF WORK

Surely, one of the most disruptive technology on the working world will be robotics. The ONU has even launched an alarm bell: according to the most reliable estimates, about 66% of professions will be replaced by machines.

Nevertheless, it is not said that man must necessarily be afraid of evolution, what distinguishes us from any other being is our cortical bark.

The cerebral cortex is a continuous laminar layer that represents the most outer part of the telencephalons in vertebrates. Formed by neurons and nerve fibres with a thickness of about 2-4 mm, the human brain cortex plays a central role in complex cognitive mental functions such as thought, awareness, memory, attention, and language.

The cerebral cortex is considered to be the most evolved and complex structure of all living systems and is precisely what allowed our species to survive.

According to different analyses, this will not be about job destruction, but transformation of professionalism.

The ONU, through the Unctad Report (United Nations Conference on Trade And Development) “Robot and Industrialization in Developing Countries”, reported that robotics will replace half of the jobs, in particular in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In addition, according to the World Economic Forum, the evolution of work will result in the creation of 2 million new jobs, but at the same time 7 million jobs will disappear.

Despite these analyses, however, the opposite is widespread, that job losses are only a transitory drawback and that in the long run there will be many benefits.

According to Klaus Schwab, founder and executive of the World Economic Forum, robots and artificial intelligence will not replace human beings but will free them and give them more time to do other works, much more rewarding.

The real danger is that the drop in employment will be faster than the creation of new job roles. This can be avoided through a careful planning of our economies.

Another interesting point of view can be represented by Uber’s response to Sharan Burrow, Secretary General of the International Trade Union Confederation, following the accusations received.

Uber’s founders do not believe that they are destroying taxi drivers job market, but that they are making people free from slavery to work from 8 am to the evenings and not to have the possibility to manage their time freely.

A NEW WORKING CONCEPT

John Maynard Keynes already at the beginning of the twentieth century talked about “technological unemployment”, arguing that automation would progressively remove man from the labour market by replacing them with more efficient machines.

The direct consequence of this phenomenon is an increase in real income (net of inflation), which leads to an increase in demand in new sectors by opening up new occupational spaces. If until now “technological unemployment” is still a concern, the fear that from here to a near future what was predicted long time ago by Keynes could really happen is approaching.

The range of activities the machines can accomplish today is very wide and with time these will expand with cops, shopkeepers, barman, co-workers, attorneys, carers, bureaucrats and journalists for example.

In Hong Kong, a venture capital company, Deep Knowledge, has named in its board of directors an artificial technology called Vital, giving it the same voting right as all other components. This technology allows them to calculate the best investments.

The relationship between man and machine will completely change the concept of work.

One of the most positive performers will be the re-shoring phenomenon, which reverses the tendency of outsourcing to markets at a lower cost of labour.

Advanced technology automation is helping this change by allowing companies to remain competitive in terms of cost and to maintain production in their own country.

The Institute of the Future of Palo Alto (California, USA), a research institute specialized in long-term and quantitative research on the future, predicts that in a globalized and more and more computer-based world, phenomena such as automation, growth of online work and sharing economy are redesigning the job.

In an age of growing instability and uncertainty over the future of professions and works, it becomes increasingly important to acquire, develop and upgrade the skills needed to move flexibly and effectively through constantly changing contexts and working conditions.

Most likely the worst jobs will disappear, while those requiring soft skills and cross-skills will be the most demanding.

SKILLS FOR COMPETITIVE RETURNING

Researchers at Phoenix University have highlighted in a forward-looking research the new work-skills that will allow employee to remain competitive and that will have a growing weight in the future.

Here is a brief list:

  1. Social intelligence: includes communicative and relational skills, leadership, negotiation and conflict management;
  2. Adaptive thinking: ability to identify solutions beyond the predefined reference frames;
  3. Cross-cultural competence: ability to relate to multicultural contexts;
  4. Computational mentality: Flexible mentality with computational skills, i.e. the ability to organize abstract concepts from large amounts of data;
  5. New Media Skills: Media Capabilities and Persuasive Content Production.
  6. Transdisciplinary: ability to understand, integrate and apply aspects of different disciplines to your work;
  7. Design-oriented mentality: ability to graphically represent objectives and processes that are implemented to achieve them.
  8. Ability to collaborate in virtual environments: group work extended to virtual teams.
  9. Cognitive Load Management: Ability to filter, select and organize information appropriately (implies the ability to keep attention and concentration, as well as to shift the focus of attention in a functional way).
  10. Sense making: ability to “give meaning” to information and situations, grasping its profound meaning.

More and more important will be the management of your time, which will be recognized as a valuable asset of value. This will enable you to achieve and maintain a stable working situation while at the same time letting you to spend part of your time on private life.

 

Matteo Spiller

Criptovalute e Blockchain: cosa sono e perché sono interessanti

Le criptovalute, nell’ultimo periodo, hanno generato una grande eco e attirato molta attenzione – da parte di addetti al settore finanziario ma non solo – grazie al particolare andamento sui mercati. Tuttavia, in molti ancora non sanno cosa sono. Le cryptocurrencies, come sono chiamate nei paesi anglofoni, sono valute digitali o virtuali che basano la loro implementazione e la convalida delle transazioni sui principi della crittografia. Queste valute sono per natura anonime e decentralizzate, per cui, non essendo rilasciate da enti governativi di nessun tipo, sono teoricamente immuni a qualsiasi manovra.

Le valute

Al luglio 2017, esistono circa 1.000 valute digitali differenti. Le più note sono il Bitcoin, l’Ethereum e il Litecoin. Il funzionamento di queste è strettamente legato alla crittografia e alla tecnologia della blockchain, che potrebbe rivoluzionare moltissimi settori disintermediandoli.

Ma come funziona concretamente? Perché vengono eliminati i “classici” rischi che si possono avere su internet, come ad esempio attacchi hacker e perdita di dati? Come viene assicurata la certezza della proprietà e come si evita il fenomeno del double-spending? Tutto questo e molto altro è garantito dalla blockchain, il cui meccanismo, ideato all’inizio per il Bitcoin, è replicato in modo simile da tutte le altre valute digitali.

Il funzionamento della blockchain

La blockchain, in poche parole, non è altro che un libro mastro dove sono iscritte tutte le transazioni che avvengono tramite BitcoinL’integrità, la correttezza e l’ordine cronologico delle transazioni sono confermate e protette da un sistema che si basa sulla crittografia.

Per prima cosa, bisogna sottolineare che la blockchain è un database distribuito, e che quindi non è localizzato localmente su un solo server, ma su più macchine contemporaneamente: potenzialmente tutti i computer collegati alla rete. Questa caratteristica è fondamentale per la sicurezza, in quanto sarebbe necessario attaccare tutti i computer contemporaneamente per hackerare la base di dati e modificarle. La forza di questo sistema sta proprio nel fatto che ci siano molteplici “ragionieri” che tengono una copia di questo registro e che vengono aggiornati grazie a un particolare software.

Il (presunto) nome dell’ideatore di questo sistema è Satoshi Nakamoto, che nel 2008 ha pubblicato il paper Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System e nel 2009 ha lanciato il primo software che ha inaugurato la valuta digitale.

Fondamentale per la sicurezza del sistema è il timestamp, ovvero la marca temporale, che impedisce l’annullamento o la modifica dell’operazione dopo la registrazione. Inoltre, va ribadito il fatto che il funzionamento non è garantito da un ente centrale, ma ogni operazione è validata dall’interazione di tutti i nodi. Dopo aver affrontato la tecnologia che si cela dietro le cryptocurrencies, si possono analizzare i diversi tipi di moneta digitale. Per cominciare, è necessario affrontare il Bitcoin, ovvero la prima valuta nata insieme a questa tecnologia, a cui è legato a doppio filo per diversi motivi.

Il Bitcoin

Il Bitcoin è una vera è propria valuta quotata, e come tale può essere utilizzata per effettuare pagamenti di qualsiasi tipo in qualsiasi momento, con costi contenuti e tutta la sicurezza della tecnologia sottostante. Per poter utilizzare questo particolare tipo di moneta è necessario aprire un portafoglio, che consiste semplicemente in un’applicazione o un programma da installare sul proprio dispositivo; conseguentemente all’installazione, viene generata una chiave formata da una parte privata, accessibile esclusivamente dal proprietario del portafoglio, e una parte pubblica: queste sono necessarie per condurre le transazioni e per certificarne l’autenticità.

Molto interessante è come viene determinato il valore del Bitcoin: questo, essendo indipendente da qualsiasi tipo di organizzazione o governo, non è come una valuta a corso legale e non ha un valore modificabile da nessuno, in quanto anche la sua quantità è fissata a priori e tende asintoticamente a 21 milioni. Il prezzo viene di conseguenza determinato semplicemente dalle leggi di mercato della domanda e dell’offerta. Per quanto riguarda la quantità prodotta, la disponibilità di nuove monete cresce come una serie geometrica ogni 4 anni: nel 2013 è stata generata la metà delle monete e nel 2017 si raggiungeranno i tre quarti.

Al 25 luglio 2017, la capitalizzazione di mercato del Bitcoin è di €36.651.396.293 ($42.647.165.334), sono presenti 16.468.975 monete con un prezzo di €2.225,48 ($2.589,54). L’andamento storico del prezzo in USD si può vedere nel grafico seguente:

Andamento del prezzo del Bitcoin. Fonte.

Evidente è il fatto che esso abbia un prezzo estremamente volatile, e che tenda ad avere importanti picchi di valore. I motivi della volatilità sono diversi: in primis, molto rilevante è il valore percepito del Bitcoin, che è molto più simile a una commodity come l’oro che a una valuta a corso legale, e cioè la sua riserva di valore contro le monete legali. A questo si aggiunge il valore intrinseco percepito, che può variare molto rapidamente. Inoltre, non va tralasciato il comportamento dei grandi possessori di Bitcoin, che possono influenzare in larga parte il mercato, in quanto questo non ha ancora raggiunto la massa degli investitori mentre gli early adopters si trovano con ingenti quantità di monete. Vanno citate infine sia le notizie geopolitiche (che magari possono riguardare una regolamentazione della stessa moneta), sia quelle che derivano dalla stessa “community”, per esempio riguardo la sicurezza del sistema o eventuali falle. In ogni caso è utile ricordare che il prezzo dipende esclusivamente da domanda e offerta, e che queste vengono pesantemente influenzate dalle ragioni succitate.

Dopo aver analizzato la questione del valore del Bitcoin è possibile affrontare il problema di come vengono generate le monete, e per fare questo è necessario tenere ben presente il funzionamento della blockchain. Come già affermato, la blockchain è un database protetto da crittografia diffuso tra tantissimi computer diversi che tengono nota di ogni transazione. A questo punto potrebbe sorgere spontanea una domanda: per quale motivo queste persone mettono a disposizione della potenza di calcolo per tenere un registro? Ci guadagnano qualcosa o lo fanno solo per amore verso il prossimo?

Siccome i computer coinvolti sono veramente tanti e i costi sostenuti sono notevoli, i soggetti che lo fanno per passione sono veramente pochi, se non nessuno: chi mette a disposizione la propria macchina guadagna dei Bitcoin per ogni blocco che aggiunge alla catena risolvendo dei particolari algoritmi in tempi relativamente brevi. Questi soggetti prendono il nome di miners, in una sorta di similitudine coi minatori d’oro. Inoltre, oltre a guadagnare dai Bitcoin generati dallo stesso sistema, i minatori guadagnano anche dai costi di transazione (ovvero delle fees) che i soggetti versano volontariamente per velocizzare l’operazione, incentivando ulteriormente i prestatori del servizio.

Le altre criptovalute

Come già affermato, le criptovalute sono attualmente circa 1.000, e sono destinate ad aumentare. Oltre al Bitcoin, che ha la capitalizzazione di mercato e il prezzo più alto, esistono diverse monete interessanti che hanno introdotto innovazioni e novità notevoli. Tra le altcoins, ovvero le criptovalute diverse dal Bitcoin, è presente ad esempio il Litecoin, lanciato nell’ottobre 2011, che ha una struttura molto simile al Bitcoin, differendo solo per il fatto che vengono immagazzinate meno informazioni, il che rende le transazioni più leggere e veloci, permettendo di stipare più informazioni all’interno di ogni blocco. Ad oggi, il Litecoin ha una capitalizzazione di mercato di $2,189,035,163, sono presenti 52,186,982 monete sul mercato ad un prezzo di $41.95.

Tra le valute digitali più interessanti spicca anche l’Ether, moneta di scambio usata su Ethereum, una piattaforma digitale considerata di una nuova generazione di blockchain, ovvero la 2.0. La suddetta piattaforma permette l’esecuzione di smart contracts, veri e propri contratti digitali eseguibili senza intervento esterno, dove la moneta funge sia da criptovaluta che da “carburante” per l’utilizzo della potenza computazionale.

Ad Ethereum si affianca NEO, una piattaforma supportata pesantemente da Alibaba, il colosso dell’e-commerce cinese. La differenza tra le due piattaforme sta nel fatto che Ethereum possiede un linguaggio di programmazione proprio, mentre NEO cerca di usare più linguaggi ed essere quindi più flessibile.

Grafico del prezzo dell’Ether.

 

Implicazioni future

Le criptovalute sono e saranno un passaggio estremamente rilevante per il futuro, non solo per la loro natura di monete digitali decentralizzate, ma piuttosto per la tecnologia sottostante: la blockchain, per molti, potrebbe distruggere l’economia per come la conosciamo oggi. Nel futuro, settori con un’importante presenza di intermediari come quello finanziario potrebbero sparire grazie a questo sistema. Secondo Dan Trapscott, manager ed economista canadese, la blockchain potrebbe davvero democratizzare e rendere reale la sharing economy, abbattendo i costi di transazione e rendendo accessibile a una maggiore fetta della popolazione il benessere economico grazie alla sicurezza e alla portata del sistema.

Non solo fiori

L’altra faccia della medaglia è che le criptovalute stanno vivendo una bolla che presto potrebbe scoppiare, danneggiando molte persone e facendo crollare i prezzi. Il motivo sta nel fatto che molti si sono letteralmente tuffati nel mercato senza conoscerne le dinamiche, i problemi e le opportunità, rimanendo in balia delle fluttuazioni. A questo va affiancata la problematica che riguarda il riciclaggio del denaro che viene facilitato dalle monete digitali.

Le criptovalute saranno di particolare rilievo in futuro, ma non è detto che rimarranno inalterate e che saranno sempre le stesse, anche per via dei regolamenti che potrebbero arrivare da parte dei governi. Sarebbe quindi più interessante capire e sviluppare la tecnologia sottostante, che secondo molti potrebbe davvero rappresentare una nuova pagina sia di internet che dell’economia mondiale.

 

Articolo pubblicato anche su theWise (https://www.thewisemagazine.it/2017/08/05/2931/).

 

Domenico Sorice

Social Media Responsible Invenicement

La fine delle Venete

La telenovela che riguarda il futuro delle banche venete sembra ormai giunta al termine, portando un po’ di ordine all’interno del panorama italiano. Come visto negli articoli precedenti riguardo il sistema italiano, i casi di buona gestione ci sono, ma vengono minati da dissesti e casi di malagestione che infettano l’intero comparto bancario, generando insicurezza e instillando la paura nei clienti-consumatori, aizzando gli speculatori.

In sintesi, andranno in liquidazione e Intesa Sanpaolo ingloberà la parte “buona” e lascerà i crediti deteriorati in una cosiddetta “bad bank” finanziata dallo Stato, quindi coi soldi dei contribuenti, con una spesa di circa 20 miliardi di euro. Era questa, quindi, l’unica fine possibile? Che fine hanno fatto le ipotesi di bail-in, le belle parole sul fatto che i contribuenti non devono pagare per pochi? Non si poteva agire minimizzando la spesa pubblica? E in questo, gli austeri tecnocrati europei che cosa hanno fatto?

Le questioni suscitate da questa situazione sono molteplici e riguardano temi rilevanti, ma tra tutti i più delicati toccano la credibilità italiana e quella delle istituzioni europee, per via dei fondi stanziati a favore di Intesa e per la competizione che potrebbe subire qualche variazione in favore del più grande gruppo bancario italiano.

La questione brevemente riassunta nelle righe precedenti è più complessa e strutturata. Per prima cosa, cosa succede alle venete: Veneto Banca e Banca Popolare di Vicenza, fondamenti dell’economia del nord-est e della locomotiva veneta ora passano di mano, dopo una centenaria storia di indipendenza.

Le cause di questa crisi, già analizzate in precedenza, riguardano i favoritismi e il clientelismo, che hanno fatto accumulare miliardi di crediti deteriorati senza mai essere svalutati, tenendo alti i prezzi delle azioni, che venivano decisi internamente, senza seguire le logiche di mercato. Il vaso di Pandora è stato scoperchiato dai controlli di Banca d’Italia e BCE all’interno delle venete, che hanno scoperto i trucchi utilizzati per gonfiare i conti.

Le banche subiranno ora la liquidazione coatta amministrativa, una particolare procedura che in assenza della normativa europea applica quella italiana, derogandola, in favore dell’operazione da effettuare: con questa mossa le banche passano da recuperabili, fino a poco tempo fa, a situazione di fallimento. In questo si inserisce Intesa, unica banca disposta a farsi carico della situazione, che acquista Veneto Banca e Banca Popolare di Vicenza per un euro, prezzo simbolico; a questo Intesa affianca una garanzia da parte dello stato di quasi 5 miliardi, a favore dei propri azionisti, ribadendo però “che le passività superano le attività”, a sottolineare la propria buona azione. Il denaro messo a disposizione da parte dei contribuenti a favore della più grande banca italiana servirà a non intaccare i ratio patrimoniali decisi dagli accordi di Basilea, in modo da lasciare inalterata la situazione dopo l’incorporazione delle venete. Lo Stato deve, con i fondi messi a disposizione, garantire gli NPL, ovvero i crediti deteriorati, delle due venete, già svalutati, e quindi senza troppa fretta di liberarsene. Gli analisti di Mediobanca, in favore della mossa di Intesa, prevedono un aumento del dividendo di circa il 6%; anche la borsa ha premiato le operazioni di Intesa.

Per quanto riguarda i fondi pubblici stanziati, il ministro dell’economia Padoan ha affermato che questi non avranno impatto sul debito pubblico: questa affermazione è vera, ma semplicemente perché erano già stati previsti come ricapitalizzazione precauzionale a favore delle venete, e sono quindi sono stati reindirizzati. Lo Stato potrebbe comunque recuperare questo denaro attraverso una oculata e attenta gestione e vendita dei crediti deteriorati che formano la bad bank, ora di proprietà pubblica.

Agli azionisti ormai da tempo rassegnati ad avere poco o nulla di quello investito, e si può anche dire “giustamente”, si contrappongono gli obbligazionisti: da una parte i senior che si vedranno rimborsati del 100% del capitale investito, mentre dall’altra i detentori di obbligazioni junior, che riceveranno solo un rimborso forfettario. Un’altra questione facilmente sollevabile è: è giusto che chi ha investito in questi titoli venga comunque rimborsato? I titoli junior, ovvero le obbligazioni subordinate, verranno, anche se solo in parte, rimborsate, riducendo quindi il rischio a cui sono sottoposti i soggetti; lo stesso vale per le obbligazioni ordinarie, ovvero le senior, che verranno rimborsate al 100% del capitale investito, creando per l’investitore un rischio zero e capital gain da capogiro, visto che queste erano quotate ampiamente sotto la pari. È giusto quindi che per il guadagno di pochi ci rimettano tutti i contribuenti? A questo si ricollega il problema italiano dell’ignoranza finanziaria e del voler investire senza rischi, tanto paga lo Stato.

Alle conseguenze sui conti pubblici, che sono state già considerate e che non peseranno ulteriormente, seguono quelle sul sistema bancario nazionale, europeo e sulle condizioni generali di salute dell’Italia.

Come visto negli ultimi anni, l’Italia ha attraversato una situazione turbolenta per via delle condizioni delle banche, coinvolgendo tutto il sistema: il caso Montepaschi ha tenuto banco a lungo, generando pesanti ripercussioni che hanno coinvolto sia l’apparato economico che politico; le banche toscane hanno generato caos con l’applicazione, prima dell’entrata in vigore, delle norme sul bail-in creando un caso politico che ancora tiene banco e ora, con la soluzione del “problema” veneto, considerato anch’esso sistemico come Mps, non si vedono, per ora, crisi nel sistema bancario nostrano. Infatti, anche secondo quanto affermato dal vice direttore generale di Bankitalia Fabio Panetta, questo potrebbe essere un “punto di svolta per il sistema bancario italiano”, che potrebbe cambiare l’immagine e la percezione del sistema italiano, che non presenta più particolari criticità. A questo Panetta aggiunge che lo shock generato a un eventuale bail-in avrebbe impattato violentemente sull’economia reale di una regione chiave nel panorama nazionale come quella veneta.

Il caso delle venete si conclude poco dopo la chiusura di un’altra crisi bancaria, quella dello spagnolo Banco Popular. Secondo molti, quello che è avvenuto con la banca spagnola dove replicarsi con le due venete. Riassumendo, Santander ha acquistato anch’essa al prezzo simbolico di un euro la banca in crisi, accollandosi tutto: perdite, dipendenti e crediti deteriorati, dovendo provvedere così a un aumento di capitale di 7 miliardi da reperire nel mercato. Non un euro pubblico è stato sborsato per favorire l’acquisizione, ma sono state applicate le normative europee del burden sharing, ovvero della condivisione del rischio. A farne le spese sono stati gli azionisti e obbligazionisti subordinati, che hanno visto azzerarsi il proprio investimento. Applicando le norme europee non un centesimo dei contribuenti è stato erogato, facendo sostenere il rischio a chi effettivamente avrebbe dovuto sostenerlo. Inoltre, il gruppo Santander ha considerato strategica l’acquisizione: così facendo è diventato il primo gruppo bancario spagnolo, divenendo il principale sostenitore delle pmi, estremamente rilevanti all’interno del tessuto economico spagnolo. Perché non si è fatto lo stesso in Italia? Probabilmente per ragioni politiche e di convenienza, in quanto, quasi sicuramente, Intesa non si sarebbe fatta carico di un aumento di capitale da ricercare nel mercato.

Le conseguenze europee del caso veneto potrebbero essere pesanti: i passi fatti avanti nei confronti di una unione bancaria europea sembrano cancellati, minando la credibilità della stessa. Tutto quello che ha fatto l’Italia, è lecito e legale, in quanto ha applicato la normativa italiana bypassando quella europea, ma potrebbe non essere stata la scelta migliore. Innanzitutto, Intesa è sicuramente favorita da questa operazione, in quanto ne uscirà rafforzata dal punto competitivo, e, inoltre, manterrà inalterati i propri rapporti patrimoniali grazie ai fondi pubblici. Il comportamento del governo italiano ha irrigidito i rapporti con la Germania che da ora sarà più scettica nel completare l’unione bancaria europea, dove i più favorevoli sono gli italiani Visco e Padoan. Per molti, quindi, la credibilità europea, costruita con i casi delle toscane e del Banco Popular, è stata compromessa se non distrutta e sarà difficile riguadagnare quello che si è perso.

Per quanto riguarda il territorio italiano, una questione spinosa è quella degli esuberi e delle filiali: migliaia di dipendenti, in maggioranza di Intesa, saranno prepensionati volontariamente e centinaia saranno le filiali a chiudere, in ordine di una razionalizzazione già cominciata tempo addietro dalla banca con sede a Torino.

La situazione di Veneto Banca e Popolare di Vicenza poteva quindi essere gestita diversamente, magari come la banca spagnola senza esborsi statali, ma è finalmente giunta a una conclusione. I costi saranno rilevanti, ma forse più bassi del previsto, e in ogni caso peseranno sulle generazioni future. L’Europa in questo frangente ha probabilmente perso credibilità, ma le vere conseguenze si potranno vedere solamente in futuro. Le scelte del governo sono state indirizzate comunque a scontentare il minor numero possibile di investitori, ovvero molti cittadini, con ovvie ragioni politiche. In ogni caso, l’unico vincitore certo che può essere proclamato al momento è Intesa che ha rafforzato la propria posizione e presenza sul territorio.

 

Articolo pubblicato anche su theWise (https://www.thewisemagazine.it/2017/07/08/la-fine-delle-banche-venete/).

 

                                                                                                                                          Domenico Sorice

Social Media Responsible Invenicement

The Cryptocurrencies

The Crypto Currencies:

A cryptocurrency is a digital asset or a virtual currency used as a mean of exchange through encryption in order to make transactions secure and to control the creation of a new currency.

A definitive feature of cryptocurrency, and arguably its most captivating allure, is its organic nature; It is not issued by any central authority, and this feature makes it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

The Crypto Currencies are mainly characterized by four traits: decentralization, anonymity, immediacy and dynamism.

They exist in a network created by thousands of people operating on online platforms and can not be controlled by governments and banks because the system doesn’t allow to disclose any information regarding the owners and users of Bitcoin.

Bitcoins are not related to personal data, and as a simple set of alphanumeric characters, it is not possible to identify the owner or user. Thanks to the Bitcoin’s structure and organisation, transactions are much faster than the ones use in traditional banking.

These transactions are faster because there are thousands of people in the system that contribute to approve and control them.

Nevertheless, the cryptocurrencies’ market is very unstable even though an expanding one. Short-term gains can be very high but the same applies to losses.

As a precaution against digital counterfeiting, a “proof-of-work” scheme is used, which is a mechanism built to discourage denial of service attacks and other abuse of service, such as spam on the network. The technologies used are of peer-to-peer (p2p) type on networks whose nodes are the users scattered around the globe.

“Proof of work” is a protocol whose main goal the deterring cyber-attacks such as a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS): it has the purpose of exhausting the resources of a computer system by sending multiple fictitious requests.

The “Proof of work” concept existed even before bitcoin, but Satoshi Nakamoto applied this technique to his digital currency revolutionizing the way traditional transactions are set.

In fact, the idea was originally published by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor back in 1993, but the term “proof of work” was coined by Markus Jakobsson and Ari Juels in a document published in 1999.

Proof of work is maybe the biggest idea behind Nakamoto’s bitcoin white paper – published back in 2008 – because it relies on trustless and distributed consensus.

 

Most crypto coins have been designed to gradually introduce new currency units, to avoid hyperinflation.

 

Below are the most important currencies in circulation:

Source: coinmarketcap.com

  • Bitcoin (BTC), founded in January 2009, based on the “proof-of-work”protocol, is the first crypto currency for value, the first to be known in bulk and to be recognized as a form of payment by various websites, including those in the deep web.
  • Litecoin (£) reached $41m in December 2013, uses scrypt as a “proof of work” system and blocks every 2.5 minutes instead of every 10 minutes as Bitcoin does.

A scrypt is a memory hard key-derivation function. Memory hard functions require a large amount of RAM to be solved. This means that a standard ASIC chip used for solving the Bitcoin SHA-256 Proof of Work would need to reserve a certain amount of chip space for Random Access Memory instead of pure hashing power. 

 

  • Peercoin (PPC), born in August 2012, it is the first crypto currency based on the combination of proof-of-stake (PoS) and proof-of-work (PoW) protocols. As of November 30, 2013, it is the third with a capitalization of $8.2m.
  • Quark (QRK), born in July 2013.
  • Namecoin (NMC), born in April 2011, it acts as a decentralized DNS that avoids censorship of domain names by creating a new domain level outside of ICANN’s control.
  • Feathercoin (FTC), born as a Litecoin clone in April 2013, with MIT / X11 license. Use scrypt as a proof-of-work system. In December 2013 it had a value of 1.03 million dollars.
  • Primecoin (PPC), established in August 2012, it uses a mixed proof-of-work and proof-of-stake system.
  • Dogecoin, (DOGE) based on scrypt.
  • Coinye, based on scrypt.
  • Titcoin, based on scrypt.
  • Primecoin (XPM or Ψ), based on the Cunningham Chain.
  • Datacoin (DTC), based on the Cunningham Chain.
  • GlobalBoost-Y (BSTY).
  • Ethereum (Ξ), released in July 2015, its concept is to provide small decentralized applications or smart contracts to the blockchain.

 

“Proof of stake” is a different way to validate transactions and achieve the distributed consensus.

It is still an algorithm, and the purpose is the same as the “proof of work”, but the process used is quite different.

Proof of stake’s first idea was suggested during the BitcoinTalk forum in 2011, but the first digital currency to use this method was Peercoin in 2012, together with ShadowCash, Nxt, BlackCoin, NuShares/NuBits, Qora and Nav Coin.

Unlike the “proof-of-work”, where the algorithm rewards miners who solve mathematical problems with the objective of validating transactions and creating new blocks, with “proof of stake”, the creator of a new block is chosen in a deterministic way, depending on its wealth, also defined as stake.

The cryptocurrency market has already exceeded $ 100 billion in capitalization and in particular the crypto currency that has been so far the most successful is Bitcoin, which represents 40% of the market counting about 45 billion capitalization. Undoubtedly, Bitcoin is the gold standard in the crypto currency industry but despite that the competition is very aggressive.

 

THE FUTURE OF CRIPTOVALUTE:

This sector has attracted the attention of several banks, governments, investors and even universities. The potential expressed by the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) transaction system is huge, but most of the traditional institutions haven’t realized yet the real benefits that can derive from this sector. First of all, we must remember that this system:

1 – Reduces or eliminates all transactions that were previously carried out manually

2 – allows you to monitor all transactions in real time

3 – Reduces the time of all clearing and settlement processes

4 – Reduces the counterparty’s risk by verifying the validity of the counterparty

5 – It contributes to the increasing capital circulation through the boosted speed of transactions

6 – This coin type is fully traceable and as a consequence the risk of fraud is minimized.

From the business point of view, the benefits of this technology include:

1 – the improvement of trade finance operations

2 – the reduction of bureaucracy-derived waiting time

3 – the improved speed in making payments

4 – Improving the use of capital through greater efficiency

Most likely, the future of crypto currencies will depend on the collaboration that will be established between all market-based institutions and legislative decisions.

 

CRIPTOVALUTES DO NOT REPRESENT A SOLUTION:

Despite the benefits of using this technology, blockchain is not the solution to all the problems that affect our financial system. Currently, the world is discovering a new financial instrument and this boom is leading to the creation of a huge bubble that will burst soon. Given the speed with which this phenomenon is spreading, the traders of new currencies haven’t even had time to study the limits, problems and opportunities of these tools. According to some industry experts no crypto currency is safe outside of Bitcoin and the success of all competitors is only due to current market excitement. Several experts found obvious correlations between the tulip bubble and the alleged crypto currency one.

According to Sole 24 Ore, the most important Italian business and finance newspaper, despite these tools being virtual, they are damaging the real economy and fuelling a recycling phenomenon. The independent intergovernmental body that develops and promotes policies aimed to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation of weapons has not set half-measures on Bitcoin.

“Virtual currencies and bitcoins in particular are the wave of the future for payment systems – says the report – and provides a new and powerful tool for criminals, terrorists, financiers and evaders, enabling them to circulate and keep illegal funds outside the scope of law. ”

Claudio Clemente, Director of Banca d’Italia’s Financial Information Unit (UIF) reiterated what was stated by the independent intergovernmental body. According to the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (Fatf Gafi) by 2140, 21 million bitcoins will be recorded (but each unit can be divided into small parts) and in April 2014 it had calculated more than 12.5 million bitcoins a counter value of more than $ 5.5 billion.

The National Antimafia and Counterterrorism Directorate has been following the evolution of the situation for a long time and has indicated that there are still many barriers to information exchange, while organized crime is getting closer to modern Communications technology.

“Financial investigations – recalled the deputy national antimafia and anti-terrorism agent Filippo Spiezia – must take into account these developments, such as the spread of virtual currency. Above all, is needed a shared improvement of the quality of response in cases requiring a coordinated approach involving multiple jurisdictions. It is in this context that the possibility of creating a new Interpol Notice specifically aimed at facilitating the exchange of information in investigative procedures focusing on tracing and identifying the proceeds of crime has been specifically examined.

 

ETHEREUM CASE:

Ethereum can be considered as an emblematic example of the risks that these new technologies may have. Unlike other crypto currencies, Ethereum is not only used for currency exchange but also represents a network for contract transactions to perform many operations such as: electoral systems, domain name registration, financial markets, crowdfunding platforms, intellectual property and much more. The success of Ethereum is due to the unexpected increase in value of about $ 392 in just 6 months.

It was thought that Bitcoin could have been far from over but this did not happen, today the value of Ethereum is about $ 200 and that value is set to go down.

The worsening of expectations was due to a flash crash that led to a variation of $ 310 to 10 cents. Today, oscillations are frequent and of considerable magnitude.

These financial instruments are for experts only, value changes are sudden and worrying. Nonetheless, if properly used, investors can become millionaires in no time. The case of the anonymous digital portfolio holder number 0x00A651D43B6e209F5Ada45A35F92EFC0De3A5184 has been emblematic, which has managed to pass, through Ethereum, from $ 55 million to $ 283 million in just a few months and announced it through Instagram in Bahasa, an Indonesian official idiom , One of the world’s tax havens.

 

SHOULD YOU INVEST IN CRIPTO CURRENCY?

To invest in crypto currency you need to be aware of what might happen given the risk that these financial instruments entail.

It is often possible to read that anyone who starts investing in Bitcoin or its competitors will become rich in little time or that these tools must absolutely not be used given the high probability of losing its own capital.

Both theories are wrong, the best advice is to study before beginning to invest but above all it is very important to invest small amounts of money whose loss would not affect your financial situation.

The future of monetary technology will also be this, but now it is too early to determine which will be crypto currency’s future given the rising of problems involved with it.

 

Matteo Spiller

Venetian Banks: The Final Solution

In the end a final decision has been taken for resolving the problem regarding the Venetian Banks (Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca), the Italian Government and the ECB have approved the acquisition from Intesa Sanpaolo for 1 euro.

The requests from Intesa Sanpaolo for saving the North-East Italian economy are many but the government didn’t have another solution because of rigid European regulations and the critic situation.

The most important Italian bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, will buy the good bank, while the bad bank with the non-performing loans and all the riskiest assets will be managed by the government.

Moreover, many billions has been given to Intesa from the government for managing the performing assets of the Venetian banks, with the aim to reach profitable revenue in only two years.

An amount equal to 17 billions of public money is available to solve this issue, but it is estimated that only 10 billions will be actually used.

On the other side, Pier Carlo Padoan, the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, believes that the Treasury will recover these investments thanks to the risky assets coming from the bad bank, if managed in the right way.

Many Italian citizens are not satisfied with this solution, as their money is being used to resolve problems concerning private banking companies.

Despite this, it is really important to remember that without this solution and with the bail-in the macroeconomics damages to the Italian economy would have been around 30 billion euro. We shouldn’t forget the Lehman Brothers’ case and that the Noth-East is one of the most productive areas in Italy.

Since banks are connected with the economic and financial environment and for this reason it is impossible to make use of the bail-in without a reliable industrial plan.

This could save thousands of jobs and isolate the bank from the economic and financial environment. This means that the management of all the transactions, services, credits and loans would be entrusted to another institution, which could operate in the place of the insolvent bank.

By doing so, it could be possible to save the real economy and the interests of all citizens.

Nevertheless, the solution adopted by the Italian government is without doubt effective and for sure better than the liquidation hypothesis.

The other possible solutions

In this scenario the other possible solutions could have been another intervention form Atlante but in many cases, though, Atlante’s investors claimed that they were not available to contribute anymore, as earlier their participations had been devaluated several times.

Now, with the acquisition from Intesa these participations will be worth nothing.

Another possible solution could have been the investments of Poste Italiane but it the end this institution did not do a reasonable offer.

Finally, the most interesting solution could have been the precautionary recapitalization and the merger between Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca.

In this way the government could have spent less than the hypothesis adopted, around 5 billion euro, but the ECB asked at least 1 billion of investment from the private sector before allowing the government recapitalization.

This is really difficult to realize because even if it is necessary to respect the rules, these should be connected with the real economy and it is obvious that it is quite impossible to ask such a huge investment to the private sector to save two banks in difficulty. In fact, no investors offered to join in this operation.

For this reason Pier Carlo Padoan tried many times to ask to the BCE a reduction of the required investment but the request has been rejected.

This is a clear example of the scarce coherence between regulation and real economy, rules should be contextualized to the environment.

A better solution

The support of the whole Italian banking system, as Intesa Sanpaolo suggested, could have been a better solution. Although it could have been risky but in this way every bank could have contributed depending on its importance in the banking system.

The problem was that only a few banks were available for this solution.

With this solution Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca could have continued to work independently, the competition in the banking system would not have decreased and now there wouldn’t be the problem of the redundancies.

Moreover, the Venetian economy needed its own banks, these two banking institution are part of the history of the Venetian economic and financial environment, as they contributed to the development of many companies and today is the end of an epoch.

Conclusion

At the present moment, the Italian banking system is reliable and healthy because the most important issues have been solved and the financial markets will probably react well because now there are better future expectations regarding the profitability of this sector.

Intesa Sanpaolo will certainly earn a lot from this acquisition because they bought the health part of the two Venetian Banks for only 1 euro while the riskiest assets will be managed by the government. The market trend can confirm the expectations of the shareholders and it is highly probable that the market share will continue to growth.

The decree law has been approved by the chamber and with a high probability will be approved also in the Senate.

In the matter of the negotiations between Intesa Sanpaolo and the trade unions (Fabi, First Cisl, Fisac Cgil, Uilca , Unisin-Sinfub and Ugl) there will be 4000 voluntary retirements. At least one thousands in the perimeter of the former Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza (completed in one year) and the other three thousands in the perimeter of Intesa Sanpaolo.

Exits will be managed through the Solidarity Fund with a maximum stay of 7 years for workers of Veneto banks and 5 for those of Intesa Sanpaolo. The first exit window is fixed on 1 October 2017. The pre-retirement age in Intesa and the Veneto banks includes all those who mature their pension requirements at December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2024 respectively.

Exits will be voluntary for all banks involved and for those of Veneto banks it has been decided to maintain welfare benefits for supplementary pension, health insurance, good meal and corporate agreements in force up to 30 June 2017.

For trade unions this is one of the most important agreements made in the sector because, as Mauro Bossola explains, “we have avoided layoffs and workers who until yesterday saw hard work compromised, obtaining in their favour guarantees on voluntary exits and even on second-tier bargaining, without leaving the employees of the Intesa Sanpaolo group. ”

Despite this, the question that people should ask themselves is not whether it is better to bail-out a bank with public money or not, but rather if our economy is a sustainable one because there are many other larger problems than the singular banking case.

Surely, the financial bubbles are an example of the inefficiency of our economies. The Dow Jones reached record values and now it is worth three times the capitalization that it reached before the housing bubble.

It is inevitable that another bubble will burst soon, this time generated not by banks, but by social media and students’ loans.

Comparing the balance sheet of the most famous app with their values in the Stock Exchange it is obvious that the markets doesn’t reflect the true value.

Moreover, the competition between students is always fiercer and for this reason they decide to go in the most famous and expensive Universities of the world, even if they cannot afford the University fees. They are convinced that with their work it will be easy to repay loans.

And what about the unemployment rate of our economies? Maybe with the right regulation all problems could be solved or maybe the problems come from the pillars of our economies.

What is sure is that, with the robots there will be soon a new industrial revolution, for surviving we must change our way of thinking and, most of all, how we organize the economic and financial environment.

The structural problems of the Italian and European economy are still numerous in addition to the banking problems. Cyclical crises are hard to contrast, and the whole system needs to be rethought from the point of view of its logic to ensure greater stability, efficiency and, partly, also development.

 

 

 

Matteo Spiller

Poor Credit Policies and Italian Non-Performing Loans

The term Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) refers to impaired loans granted by lenders and represent exposures to entities unable to wholly or partly fulfil their obligations under the contract due to a worsening of the Their economic and financial situation.

According to various Bank of Italy analyses, what has hit the Italian economy most is the recession and the length of credit recovery procedures. The problem of impaired loans is a significant but certainly manageable problem and does not represent an emergency that afflicts all lenders.

As the Governor of the Bank of Italy said in the recent final considerations, this is a generally overstated phenomenon that needs to be properly framed.

Impaired Loans Criteria

To define impaired loans, it is necessary to consider the criteria published in 2013 by the European Banking Authority (EBA) that have been adopted by the Bank of Italy and harmonized at the level of the Single Supervisory Authority (SSM).

In particular, it is possible to further subdivide impaired loans into three sub-groups deriving from more severe situations: non-performing, probable defaults and overdue and/or overdue exposures.

Analysing in detail the three different categories it is possible to define the sufferings as exposures to insolvent subjects or in substantially comparable situations.

Probable defaults are exposures for which the bank considers unlikely that the debtor will fully comply with its contractual obligations without resorting to actions such as collateral security.

Exposures

Expired and/or overdue exposures can be defined as exposures that have expired or exceeded the limits of reliance for more than 90 days and beyond a predefined threshold of relevance.

In December 2016, NPLs amounted to €173 bn and were subdivided into non-performing loans of €81bn, probable defaults of €85bn and expired and/or overdue exposures of €7bn.

Between 2008 and 2014, there was a double recession that had a significant impact on the balance sheets of Italian banks, and in particular on the quality of their loans.

Recession in Italy

The considerable amount of impaired loans is the result of an exceptional recession that has hit the Italian economy in recent years and procedures for recovering bad debts.

In analysing the Italian banking system, it is evident that the recession caused by US subprime mortgages and structured finance products did not affect the financial system as the banks in the territory were under-exposed.

What has been significant has been the general deterioration of the client’s economic and financial situation, which has led to a significant increase in the rate of formation of new impaired loans and their consistency in the balance sheets of banks.

Sovereign Debt Crisis

Following the sovereign debt crisis in 2011, the client’s ability to repay debt has further reduced, resulting in a further increase in the rate of formation of new impaired loans and an increase in their consistency.

Finally, there was a negative relationship between credit growth and impaired loans between 2008 and 2015. This was mainly due to changes in the economic and financial conditions of the companies and the contraction in their demand for credit.

For lenders, the high stock of impaired loans has adverse effects on their financial statements as it tends to reduce revenue and raise the cost of the collection.

Consequently, the emphasis placed at international level on the subject, while being excessive, is not entirely unjustified, and is, in any case, a fact which cannot be considered pragmatically.

Fivefold Increase in Bad Debts

Between 2007 and 2016, the increase in bad debts recorded by significant intermediaries was on average more than 500% and was particularly high among the most virtuous intermediaries. In other words, the increase in consistency has affected almost all the intermediaries with a traditional business model.

Similar considerations can be made even if the analysis was carried out with reference to the trend of the relationship between the total of impaired loans and the loans to customers.

Analysing the situation at the start of the weaker banks’ crisis, i.e. with a ratio of gross impaired loans to total loans below average, it can be seen that they recorded data between two and three percentage points. The weaker ones, that is, with a higher than average ratio, stood at around seven percentage points.

High Non-Performing Loan Ratio

This report has peaked for the least of the weaker between 2014 and 2015, standing at 15-17%. For the latter, it has exceeded 35% between 2015 and 2016.

What can explain this latter negative is the shortcomings in credit policies and management practices.

Nevertheless, one should not overlook the effect that led to the contraction of assets in the evolution of these indicators. Harvesting capacity on markets has dropped dramatically due to the crisis of confidence.

Procedural Slack

In Italy, the time needed to close a bankruptcy is twice the average of other European countries, and this has compounded the effects of the economic crisis and the mismanagement practices of some banks.

If the time of civil justice had been in equal to the average European average, Italian banks would have a ratio between abnormal claims and jobs similar to the average recorded in European territory.

In other words, the problems related to the procedures accentuate during periods of economic recession.

Dealing with Impaired Loans

During the phases of strong growth in impaired loans, it is necessary to strengthen the courts, increase the number of magistrates and change the working methodologies.

If the characteristics and number of these organisms remain unchanged, the number of recovery procedures that will be possible to close in one year will be more or less constant. However, regardless of its causes, they are pushing it on the agenda at the European level.

This problem is daunting and difficult to understand to an outside observer because no measures have been taken to deal with it definitively. Recent steps taken by the government are helping to improve the situation, but are not a definitive solution.

Conclusion

So far it has to be said that the growth of abnormal games was also favoured by the modus operandi and the organisational behaviour of lenders who underestimated the complexity of the credit recovery process.

Matteo Spiller

Why Fintech Startups Are Finally Toppling Big Banks

Due to the unprecedented technological revolution, banks are rethinking the way they offer services. The smartphone has revolutionised people’s lives, and it now has central importance in the financial brokerage services. Giuseppe Vegas, an Italian politician and economist, delineated a system of disintermediating relations between those who demand money and those willing to lend. In a few years, it will be possible to carry out all banking operations through the internet thanks to fintech startups. Peer to peer lending is one example. The underlying idea behind this tool is disintermediation. That is, giving the possibility to private individuals to lend to other private individuals via corporate or social lending sites without going through the traditional channels represented by authorised financial intermediaries under Article 106 of the Single Bank Act, Legislative Decree No. 385 of 1993 (banks, financial companies, etc.).

This type of operation was initially developed in England by the Zopa website, which in 12 years has provided $800m in loans without resorting to bank credit. In this scenario, there are new opportunities, but also risks arising from insufficient regulation.

Keep Up or Be Left Behind

In a few years, all banks will have to rethink their business, which is already unprofitable, especially for Italy compared to other European Union countries. Consob President has repeatedly expressed his view on this. His opinion is that revolution could pose dramatic bankruptcy problems if adequate and rapid adaptation aren’t made. Moreover, fintech’s network moves into a sort of regulatory limbo that promotes action. This represents the exact opposite of what is happening in the traditional credit system that has been the object of regulations many times.

For these reasons, it is imperative to regulate all the new phenomena that are occurring. This must be done gradually and proportionately to accompany the emerging companies in their development through specific rules. If this principle will not be adopted in the regulation and if the same discipline applied to the financial system were applied today in the fintech, it would mark the end of all fintech companies. Shortly, fintech’s new reality with the old financial intermediaries will have to coexist, and this represents a vital challenge for the country and the industry. Any delay could result in a loss of competitiveness.

The Evolution of Fintech

According to Goldman Sachs’s Global Head of Fintech, Jeff Gido, three stages of fintech can be identified.

The first is the stage where startups are offered the services required by customers that were not offered by lenders. This occurred in the aftermath of the financial crisis and saw authorities, new technologies and consumer habits as protagonists. Also, after the financial crisis, the new regulations have made the bank businesses less lucrative, while large cloud and wireless service growth have allowed easier access to the banking world for startups.

In the second phase, banks realised that without innovation they could not survive in the long run due to the threat posed by startup businesses. They realised that fintech companies are trying to enter the core banking business, that is, banking, after having won the PayPal. That’s why they started to innovate using their brand and infrastructure to remain competitive on the market. Recently, Bank of America, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo have created Zelle, an instant payment service. Goldman Sachs has instead launched GS Bank, an online banking service.

Lastly, in the final phase, companies and banks will have to cooperate and not compete to avoid being crushed by tech titans like Google, Amazon and Facebook. Startups have the advantage of being able to innovate much faster than a bank can, but they cannot easily access data held by lending institutions and do not have the necessary financial resources. Banks’ weaknesses, on the other hand, are the main strength of startups, that is being able to capture new generations of clients. For this reason, many incubators are being promoted by the big financial institutions.

In addition, collaboration could be beneficial for both parties, such as cost savings for banks to build new technologies and the possibility to access to more resources for the startup.

Fintech in Europe

At the European level, this subject has already begun to be regulated. Recently, the European Union has amended legislation regulating the payment market allowing startups to access customer data from financial institutions. This legislation will enter into force in 2018, legitimising fintech as a respectable financial competitor to traditional institutions.

According to the Financial Times, most banks are concerned about security and the increase in their responsibility towards customers. The European Commission President Valdis Dombrovskis, on the other hand, believes that this will bring more competition, innovation and consumer benefits. Conquering millennials is the real challenge for lenders for the coming years because they are the main customer of the future due to the generational change.

Conclusion

Nevertheless, according to the American magazine Time, the behaviour of financial institutions concerning young people is still ambiguous. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase has repeatedly tried to warn the banking world by saying, “Silicon Valley is coming up with innovative solutions in the thinking for a new consumer audience.” According to research conducted by Viacom, a multinational entertainer, 75% of American millennials would prefer to entrust their savings to companies such as Google or PayPal rather than depositing them at a traditional bank. Despite this, through mobile banking, the situation is changing, but startups continue to innovate faster and not allow banks to recover the gap. To do so, it is necessary to raise awareness among credit institutions on these issues so that they are more willing to invest in fintech. Resources, capabilities and tools are already available, now there is the only need of the willingness to understand the new ways to create value.

Changes could be introduced through mergers, acquisitions and incremental innovations that would help the gradual diffusion of the phenomenon without excessive upheaval. Issues such as turnover and redundancies have to be tackled and banks’ technological delays must be met in order to present more attractive plans for institutional investors.

Matteo Spiller

Tesla Stock: Investing In The Future

The recent performance of Tesla stock suggests that shares in the Silicon Valley company will continue to rise as the market rewards its innovation.

With global warming, fossil fuels and pollution at the centre of many debates, investors are increasingly interested in Elon Musk, who seems to be an entrepreneur with all the answers.

Musk dominates the industry not only due to his visionary ideas, but also because he has created one of the most important brands in the world, which further reinforces its position at the top. Tesla is ranked third, after Apple and Google, in the world’s Top 50 Most Innovative Companies. Consequently, Tesla enjoys near-monopoly status, although rivals are attempting to compete with the company.

Overpriced?

As this chart shows, Tesla already has the fourth largest capitalisation in the world. Elon Musk has revolutionised thinking about the future and in doing so created a company, which in just 10 years has reached a capitalisation equal to Ford Motors.

However, it should be noted that Tesla is a loss-making company and posted a loss of $397 million last year. Some economists think it is a financial bubble, citing the fact that although Ford and Tesla have equal capitalization, the former produced 76 million cars in 2016 while Tesla produced only 84,000, indicating that sales did not justify the exponential rise in share value. Perhaps the market is rewarding the brand and its innovative ideas. On the flipside, if the market loses confidence in Musk there could be dire consequences.

Tesla’s Energy Storage

In addition to these projects, others are equally striking. Examples include the Uber bus, and providing energy for entire cities through renewable energy. This last project was realised on Kauai Island, Hawaii where using 55,000 panels, they are providing the energy needed overnight with the largest storage system ever built. The next challenge is to increase energy storage capacity worldwide.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla has launched 5 different projects in the Pacific on Ta’u in American Samoa, Monolo Island in Fiji, and Kauai and Oahu islands in Hawaii.

Lyndon Rive, president for global sales and service at Tesla’s energy division, recently said it makes perfect sense to convert every island to a solar storage facility. Indeed, island micro-grids currently represent 36 percent of Tesla’s total power storage capacity.

In 2016, a total of 157 megawatt-hours of energy storage capacity has been installed and a further 17 megawatt-hours in the first quarter of 2017.

The Donald

Despite professing his support for fossil fuels, Trump is aware that sooner or later they will be replaced by renewable energy.

As a businessman, he will surely not try to interrupt a process that is already happening. However, he will probably ignore the Paris deal as he seeks to stimulate the American economy and prioritise energy jobs over environmental concerns. The US has invested heavily in oil reserves and the increase in renewable energy could cause billions of losses for the nation.

From an economic point of view, Trump will try to milk the economic benefit of these resources before they lose their value as the energy revolution takes place. He wants to remove regulation and bureaucracy so as to reduce energy costs. In addition, environmental constraints and climate policies that are seen as slowing the economy will be removed as he seeks to engage in energy policies that cut costs and boost energy security. The Environmental Protection Agency will be refocused on the core mission of protecting air and water.

Above all, Trump has set the goal of achieving energy self-sufficiency and no longer depending on OPEC or hostile nations.

Matteo Spiller