Best Bank: UniCredit
The M&A fever that has convulsed the Italian banking sector over the past year has dramatically redrawn the competitive landscape. Yet despite the emergence of a powerful new domestic player, Intesa Sanpaolo, and the establishment of some formidable foreign banks such as BNP Paribas and ABN Amro, one bank still attracts the greatest admiration: UniCredit. Capitalia’s turnaround under Matteo Arpe could have made it a candidate for best bank in Italy this year but internal politics has helped pushed it into the embrace of big brother UniCredit, Italy’s flagship bank and also Euromoney’s choice for best bank in Europe this year. The addition of Capitalia’s Rome-centred network will strengthen UniCredit’s position in the Italian market and give it further scale to compete against its main domestic rival, Intesa Sanpaolo.
Merrill Lynch has been at the centre of investment banking in Italy over the past year and more, doing the kind of deals that shape entire industry sectors.