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Opinion

Can UniCredit get a better deal out of its Amundi partnership?

With in-house asset managers in vogue, UniCredit chief executive Andrea Orcel might try to revisit the bank’s sale of Pioneer to Amundi.

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As Andrea Orcel seeks to make his mark on UniCredit – beyond his dealings with a certain Tuscan lender – rumour has it that the chief executive wants to renegotiate the agreement his predecessor struck with Amundi, Europe’s biggest asset manager.

The 2016 sale of UniCredit’s asset manager, Pioneer, to Amundi was the largest of a series of deals undertaken by the bank’s former chief executive, Jean Pierre Mustier. These were vital to clean up the bank’s balance sheet and bolster its capital, but they also came at the cost of revenue, especially in Italy – a country of vast private wealth.

Orcel’s renegotiation might not give UniCredit a bigger slice of the pie, but it could increase the overall pie

Meanwhile, the Pioneer deal was the biggest of the asset-management purchases Amundi made across Europe during the past decade, often from struggling banks. A 10-year commitment to distribute Amundi products through the bank’s network was part of the sale, improving the price – and therefore capital benefit – for UniCredit.

The optics were not, however, quite so good. Former Societe Generale banker Mustier sold Pioneer to a French firm that he had been instrumental in creating several years earlier through the merger of SocGen’s asset management business with that of Crédit Agricole.


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