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Edited Transcript of FBK.MI earnings conference call or presentation 11-May-20 12:00pm GMT

Q1 2020 FinecoBank Banca Fineco SpA Earnings Call

Reggio Emilia May 18, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of FinecoBank Banca Fineco SpA earnings conference call or presentation Monday, May 11, 2020 at 12:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Alessandro Foti

FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director

* Lorena Pelliciari

FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO

* Paolo Di Grazia

FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - Deputy GM of Invst Products, Advisory Sol's & Financial Advt Activities and Head of Global Business

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alberto Villa

Intermonte SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Head of Analysts Team

* Andrea Scauri

* Angeliki Bairaktari

Autonomous Research LLP - Analyst

* Domenico Santoro

HSBC, Research Division - Analyst

* Elena Perini

Banca IMI SpA, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Fabrizio Bernardi

Fidentiis Equities S.V.S.A., Research Division - Analyst

* Federico Braga

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst

* Gian Luca Ferrari

Mediobanca - Banca di credito finanziario S.p.A., Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Luigi De Bellis

Equita SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Co-Head of Research

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good afternoon. This is the Chorus Call conference operator. Welcome, and thank you for joining the FinecoBank First Quarter 2020 Results Conference Call.

(Operator Instructions) At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Alessandro Foti, CEO and General Manager of FinecoBank. Please go ahead, sir.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [2]

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Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining our first quarter 2020 results conference call. Today, we will also present our U.K. business right after the Q&A session of the first quarter results. Before we start going through the details of the presentation, let me please underline the key messages for the quarter.

Once again, this set of results confirms the soundness of our business model able to deliver sustainable and industrial growth in every market condition with brokerage strongly performing and acting as a perfect countercyclical business.

Adjusted net profit stood at EUR 92 million in the first quarter and plus -- for the first quarter of the year, plus 45% year-on-year, thanks to the growth of our very well-diversified stream of revenues.

Operating costs well under control with the cost income ratio declining by 82 percentage points year-on-year to 33% and confirming operating leverage as a key strength of the bank. Net sales in the first 4 months of the year were strong and robust, reaching EUR 3.1 billion, with April being close to EUR 1 billion, plus 89% year-on-year and with an improved mix, which highlights a strong recovery of assets under management as volatility climb down from its recent peak. This also thanks to the strong success of the new generation of products launched by Fineco Asset Management, which is increasingly becoming the cornerstone of our inflows in asset under management.

Also, let me please remind you that our net sales are generated organically and in the first quarter of the year, only 9% came from recruits made in the last 24 months. Finally, total financial assets in April stood at EUR 79.1 billion, which gathered products, reaching 72% of the assets under management.

Let's now move to Slide 5 and start commenting our quarterly results. As announced, we recorded very strong results with adjusted net profit in the first quarter of the year, reaching EUR 92.2 million, plus 45.4% year-on-year, despite the complex scenario. We generated EUR 201.3 million of adjusted revenues in the quarter, up 27.2% year-on-year, supported by all business areas. Operating cost stood at EUR 66.5 million, plus 1.9% year-on-year. Cost/income decreased to 33%, despite the continuous expansion in assets and clients, thanks to our strong operating leverage and to the scalability of our platform.

Please go through the following lines to analyze more in details all the dynamics of our results.

Let's start with the net interest income dynamics on Slide 6. Despite the lower interest rate environment, net interest income remained resilient at EUR 8.1 million, decreasing by only EUR 1.6 million in the quarter, of which EUR 0.8 million related to the days effect. Thanks to the continuation enlargement of our quality lending book and sticky sight deposits, even more valuable given the current remuneration on liquidity offered by the system. The yearly decrease was minus 3.2%, mainly due to the lower interest rate environment, which led to a reduction in average gross margins on interest earnings assets from 1.26% in the first quarter of 2019 to 1.08% in the first quarter of 2020. As an example, 5-year Eurirs moved from plus 13 basis points a year ago to minus 26 basis points in the first quarter of 2020.

Finally, cost of funding remained very low at 3 basis points due to deposits in foreign currencies. Please let me remind you that our cost of funding related to deposits in euro, which represents 96% of our total deposits is 0.

Let's now move on Slide 7 to deep diving on our bond portfolio. Our strategy to run off a UniCredit bond portfolio and move into a more diversified and low-risk investment portfolio through a blend of European government bonds and covenant bond is progressing very well. Our bonds portfolio now includes also France, Spain, Ireland, U.S., Poland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, U.K., Supranational National Agencies and covenant bonds in addition to Italy.

Finally, let me please remind you that almost 100% of our financial investments are accounted in held-to-collect. This clause have no impact on our P&L by the widening of the spread.

Let's now move to Slide 8. Lease and commissions grew by 35.8% year-on-year, driven by all business areas. We will deep dive on brokerage and investing later on during the presentation. Banking fees benefited for the first time by the contribution of the smart repricing in place, starting from February 2020. Trading income, net of nonrecurring items increased by almost 169% year-on-year, driven by the strong market volatility in the quarter.

Let's now move on Slide 9 for a focus on brokerage. Brokerage acted as the perfect countercyclical business, allowing us to deliver consistent results also in a complex market environment. In the quarter, overall brokerage revenues stood at EUR 63.4 million, reaching its best results ever, and increasing by 110% year-on-year and 76.5% quarter-on-quarter, recording its best results ever. On the back of the sky-rocketing volatility in March of the deep reshaping our offer and of the strong growth of new customers, mainly driven by the enlargement of the market as more Italians are now interested in financial markets. The accelerating trend of brokerage was also confirmed in the month of April with revenues estimated at around EUR 22 million, plus 107% year-on-year, bringing brokerage revenues in the first 4 months of the year to around EUR 85 million more than doubled year-on-year.

Let's now move on Slide 10 for a focus on investing. Investing revenues amounted to EUR 60.9 million, increasing by 12.4% year-on-year, thanks to the higher contribution of gathered products and services and to Fineco Asset Management. Investing revenues increased by 3.7% quarter-on-quarter, mainly explained by the higher incentives to PFS paid in the fourth quarter of 2019 related to the quality of inflows in the asset under management realized in the last part of the year. This more than offset the quarterly decrease in management fees, driven by negative market effect, in particular in the month of March.

Pretax net management fees margins stood at 63 basis points in the quarter, decreasing by 1 basis point quarter-on-quarter. Margins were affected by a lower equity component on Asset Under Management due to the negative market effect recorded in the quarter and by the increased penetration of the accumulation products among our offer of guided products. After tax management fees margins remained flat at 46 basis points, thanks to the positive contribution from Fineco Asset Management.

As you probably know, starting from last year, Fineco started to offer decumulation products to its customers. This product tend to build increasing profitability for the bank over the years as they automatically and progressively invest from conservative asset class towards equity. We, therefore, agreed to change the contracts related to our financial planners incentives, starting from 2020, to incentivize them to maintain their assets for at least 3 years to obtain the bonus. With the new contract, the cost of the incentives will be split over 3 years horizon, currently with the longer persistence of the assets.

Slide 11. As you can see from Slide 11, our results once again confirm efficiency to be part of our DNA and core in our bank, representing a clear and unique competitive advantage. In the quarter, staff expenses stood at EUR 24 million, plus 10.9% on a yearly basis, mainly due to the increase in the workforce related to the business development and to the internalization of some services after the exit from UniCredit Group.

Non-HR costs stood at EUR 42.5 million, decreasing by 2.6% year-on-year, mainly due to a different scheduling of the marketing campaign.

Moving to Slide 12. As you can see on the left-hand side of the slide, commercial loans grew by 26.6% year-on-year with the usual strict control on credit quality. Let me remind you that our lending is offered exclusively to our loyal customer base and our deep internal IT culture allows us to fully leverage on big data analytics. This translates into a commercial cost of risk very well under control at 14 basis points as of March 2020, in line with our guidance of the cost of risk between 10 and 15 basis points, which is confirmed also in considering the present context of COVID outbreak and the government decrees to support the moratorium.

Expected losses decreased for all our lending products, thanks to the quality of our lending portfolio. As a confirmation of the quality of our lending book, we only received less than 200 requests for moratorium. We will deep dive more in-depth in analyzing our lending offer on the next slide.

Moving to Slide 13. In the wake of recent events, our cautious approach has become even more conservative. Therefore, we slightly reviewed our 2020 guidance. On mortgages, we further increased our guidance on new production in the range between EUR 400 million and EUR 500 million as we are observing clients preferring mortgages in a period characterized by very low fixed rates. Following the decrease of the Eurirs interest rates connected to the worsening of market condition, we now decreased our expected yield to a range between 55 and 70 basis points. Let me remind you that our expected loss in this product is very low, and in the quarter, it has moved from around 23 basis points to 17 basis points, thanks to the strength of our big data analytics.

On personal loans, we slightly decreased our expectations of new production to a range between EUR 150 million and EUR 200 million per year and the net growth in a range between EUR 20 million and EUR 40 million, with average yield confirmed between 380 and 410 basis points.

On Credit Lombard, we confirm our growth in a range between EUR 300 million and EUR 350 million, with expected yield between 75 and 85 basis points. Let me remind you that the Credit Lombard can be impacted by our brokerage platform as it was the case in the third quarter of 2019. Please keep in mind that for the expected yields, in the case of the market environment changes, we would have to move accordingly.

Slide 14 on capital ratio. Fineco confirmed once again a rock solid capital position on the wave of a safe balance sheet. Let me remind you that following the strong recommendation by ECB and Bank of Italy, we suspended the proposal regarding the distribution to shareholder of the dividend equal to EUR 0.32 per share. The Board of Directors will convene an ordinary shareholders' meeting after the 1st of October 2020 to resubmit the aforementioned distribution proposal in the same amount already approved by the Board of Directors and communicated to the market. For this reason, we will comment pro forma figures, which include a dividend payment.

Common equity Tier 1 ratio performance stood at 19.28%. Finally, total capital ratio performance stood at 34.94% as of March 2020.

Now I would skip directly to Slide 22. In this slide, we summarized our guidance for 2020. Please note that it does not include the revenues and cost related to the U.K. business development. Also considering our current outlook, we are on track to achieve our expectations for 2020 results, also with a different mix, and we expect no change in our growth expectations in terms of revenue generation and net profit growth. Net interest income is expected to remain solid and resilient or slightly decreasing by few millions on the back of volume effect and the benefit coming from ECB tiering. Let me remind you that this assumption incorporates no change in our investment policy, no increase in our risk profile and the more dynamic management of our treasury. Deposits are expected to increase in the region of EUR 2.53 billion per year, and new production of lending is expected to be in the region of EUR 0.81 billion per year, equal to 0.6 -- EUR 0.8 billion net growth. For investing fees, we give a sensitivity for every EUR 1 billion change in Asset Under Management, which generates around EUR 3.6 million of revenues, starting from May, 1 until the year-end.

Brokerage revenues are expected to remain strong and above our expectations for 3 main reasons: First of all, the deep reshape of our product offer; second, the level of volatility, which will probably be higher than the extremely low levels registered in the past years; third, the strong growth of new customers driven not only by the increase of our market share, but most of all, by the enlargement of the market. In fact, we are observing that more Italians are now interested in financial markets.

Let me also remind you that this business acts as a perfect countercyclical business.

Banking commissions related to the smart repricing are expected to increase by around EUR 20 million. We decreased -- we are decreasing our guidance of an operating cost to a yearly growth of around 4%, thanks to our strong operating leverage. Let me please highlight that this guidance does not include marketing expenses related to U.K., which are expected to be up to EUR 6.5 million. Operative costs in U.K. are expected in the region of EUR 1.5 million, and in this case, this EUR 1.5 million are already included in our guidance. So what I mean that in the guidance of cost growing by 4%, they are including also EUR 1.5 million related to operational cost in U.K. In terms of future evolution, we confirm our guidance on a continuous decline in cost income in the long run, thanks to the scalability of our platform and to the strong operating gearing that we have. We confirm our floor of core Tier 1 ratio equal to 17% allowed that we deem appropriate and massively above the industry average. But we expect to stay in the region of 18% for 2020.

Leverage ratio stood at 3.73% in March 2020 and is expected to remain above 3.5%, thanks to all the initiatives the bank is undertaking. We are extremely relaxed about our leverage ratio, considering our organical capital generation after dividend distribution and payment of a Tier 1 coupon. Also in the case of an extremely adverse scenario and assuming EUR 5 billion of deposit growth in 2020, our leverage ratio would remain around 3.5%.

Cost of risk is expected to remain in a range between 10 and 50 basis points. Even in this environment, thanks to the high-quality of our lending book.

Finally, we expect robust and high quality net sales.

Let's now move to Slide 23 to deep dive into the impact for the bank from the current situation. Current situation is creating the conditions for further enlarging our growing opportunities, and it's generating more positive than negative impact. Among the positives, let me highlight robust net sales, driven by -- both by flight to quality, the increase of share of wallet of our existing clients. Let me remind you that we are one of the few financial organizations able to provide unmatched customer experience for clients. Brokerage is booming and perfectly working, thanks to our fintech DNA, even with an enormous infrastructure load managed in the period, both in terms of amounts of data and transactions, cost savings, considering that everything is more digitalized following COVID outbreak. The situation is generating a gigantic opportunity to increase the speed at which we are growing. The behavior of our society is changing, and there is a massive acceleration in direction of digitalization. Being born already digital and with a strong business model based on innovation, quality and efficiency, Fineco is already positioned at the sweet spot for capturing this gigantic trend.

Let's now move to Slide 24, delivering on industrial measures. Our key priority going forward remains to structurally improve the quality of our net sales and client base in order to increase better-quality recurring revenues and keep the growth of our balance sheet under control. Our focus on improving of our asset mix is already delivering, in particular, starting from second part of 2019. On the graph, you can see a breakdown of our quarterly net sales, showing a growing contribution from Asset Under Management constantly increasing over the quarter, also thanks to Fineco Asset Management. Net sales mix in March reflected both the flexible and transparent approach of our multichannel platform and extremely high volatility of financial markets. April net sales showed a prompt recovery of the mix, also thanks to volatility coming down a little bit from its March peaks. Asset Under Management in the month represents 69% of total inflows.

Let's now move to Slide 25 to analyze more in-depth Fineco Asset Management. Fineco Asset Management is key in our move to accelerate the conversion of deposit into Assets Under Management. Our latest net sales results confirm once again that Fineco Asset Management is gaining commercial momentum. And in the latest month, it has further accelerated its contribution to Fineco's inflows, remaining positive even in particularly difficult environment. This, thanks to its ability to create modern and innovative multi-manager solutions, reinforcing our guided open architecture platform and enhancing our time to market in developing our offer to meet evolving customer needs. We just released other new solutions suitable for volatile markets, Fineco Asset Management Global Defence, a capital preservation solution for more conservative customers who wants to protect capital. And Fineco Asset management target boost and evolution of the decumulation products for customers who wants to take advantage of [better] market phases, and we are ready to launch a new capital preservation product in the next few weeks.

Finally, I would like to highlight that the penetration of Fineco Asset Management to retail class, total assets reached 20% of Fineco's total assets under management, and we expect it to grow even further. The penetration on asset under management, excluding the insurance, reached 32% in March 2020, increasing by 8 percentage points in one year.

Thank you for your time. And after the Q&A session, I will hand over the floor to Paolo Di Grazia, Deputy General Manager of the bank, for presenting our U.K. business.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) The first question is from Domenico Santoro from HSBC.

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Domenico Santoro, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [2]

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I hope everyone is okay, and families included. I do have a number of questions on margins and volumes and brokerage, if you don't mind. First of all, margins in the quarter, they held up very well, actually. So I'm just wondering, whether it does include yet the market effect? And if you could give us a guidance for the second quarter. In particular, I'm interested in understanding the difference in margin between asset management products and the decumulation products that were sold during the quarter and also last year.

Another question on volumes, whether you can give us or you feel confident enough to give us a sort of a guidance for the sales for the end of the year. Then on brokerage, I understand you're doing fantastically here. And also, April was very strong. And well, all depends how the volatility will go ahead during the year. But given the change in the customer behavior, I mean everybody is at home and probably will stay at home for longer. Do you see any structural change here in behavior that might make -- that probably might make you confident in giving us a sort of a bottom rock sort of a revenue stream month by month, a minimum -- this is at least for the benefit of our model? Then an indication for tax rate for the year? And last one, sorry for the very long question, I was just wondering if you accrued any dividend already for 2020? And whether the 17 core Tier 1 includes any payout for 2020?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [3]

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So starting from the margins, on the asset under management, clearly, there has been an effect that at the end of the -- of last year, clearly, there has been an -- in our opinion an overreaction by the market on our margins because in the first quarter, there has been a temporary effect caused by the payments of the incentives to the network that skewed on the upper end by the huge overachievement of results by then. So this, as we explained during the presentation, was a temporary effect. It clearly has been then -- it's finished during the first quarter. And clearly, in the first quarter -- the first quarter is including the market effect. In terms of guidance, clearly, it's a little bit difficult to give such a precise guidance on margins because if we assume that the market remains relatively stable, we don't expect any significant change in the margins. It's clear that in the case that we go throughout another huge market disruption, clearly, there is the possibility for a further decline in margins, but mainly driven by the by the market effect. In terms of margins between the decumulation products and the other products, clearly, the decumulation products, as you probably know, is a product that they are progressively building up profitability. And -- but this has been -- this gap in terms of profitability on decumulation products has been, in part, offset by the change that we introduced in the contracts for the financial planners because now the -- our financial planners, they are -- their bonuses just is related to the fact that they are maintaining their assets over a certain period of time. And this is making us possible to make the margins of the decumulation products more current with the longer-term picture.

Coming to brokerage. Brokerage, clearly, there is -- has been pretty strong, as we were saying, driven by the reshape of the product offer that has been very important and discontinuing. So the bank has, in the pipeline, some other very relevant new solutions for better capturing the brokerage opportunities. Second, clearly, the volatility has been pretty high. But as you were correctly underlying, there are emerging very clear structural change in the customer behaviors. So the most relevant that clearly is dramatically growing the number of Italians that they are starting on being extremely interested in what's going on in the financial market. This clearly is driven by -- it's perfectly current with the increase of the C/I ratio of the Italian family. Because on one hand, the Italian families are becoming more concerned regarding the future in terms of economic growth, their job and so on. And this is making them clearly much more interested in what's going on their financial assets because the Italians are extremely -- clearly, they have a -- they sit on a gigantic amount of savings and so clearly -- and so what the most amazing part of the story that we are -- it's not just a matter -- because Fineco on one end is continuously increasing the market share, but this is just a small piece of the story. The real difference that is emerging that the market overall is growing quite in a quite significant way. And it's clear that Fineco, being by far the dominant player, is the player that is expected to get the highest level of benefits of this. So clearly, we expect that structurally, the floor of the revenues generated by brokerage. So for us, the floor of the brokerage revenues is the amount of revenues generated in a period of time characterized by very low volatility. So we think that the floor of the brokerage revenues is expected to keep on growing over the time, driven by the new products, but mainly by the continuous enlargement of the market. And in -- as we are seeing, we are considering in the -- in our expectation, we are expecting to pay the dividend both in 2020 and 2021, clearly. And the 70% floor on the core Tier 1 ratio is clearly including the payout for 2020. But again, 70% is a very conservative floor. More reasonably, our core Tier 1 ratio, as we said in the presentation, is going to stay after the payments of the dividend comfortably above the 18%.

And on the tax rate on 2020, it's clearly the tax rate in -- we don't think that it's -- we have to be very cautious in looking to the tax rate because, for example, in 2020, there is a huge -- the big jump in brokerage. The brokerage revenues are accounted in -- 100% in Italy, that has a higher tax rate. So there is the possibility that the tax rate -- but probably I leave a little bit the floor on the tax rate to the CFO. Please, Lorena, if you want to elaborate a little bit more on the tax rate of 2020?

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Lorena Pelliciari, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO [4]

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Okay. Thank you, Alessandro. So regarding tax rate, we have to say that in absence of the new regulations, we expect the tax rate to be flattish in 2020, also including Patent Box contribution. In fact, we don't expect a significant reduction to our consolidated tax rate, despite revenues generated by Fineco Asset Management are increasing because as already said by Alessandro, the majority of the consolidated income will continue to be represented by revenues generated by FinecoBank in Italy that are growing even more due to the outstanding performance of our brokerage business, following the increased market volatility.

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Domenico Santoro, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [5]

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An indication, if I may, on the sales for the end of the year?

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Lorena Pelliciari, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO [6]

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In the region of 30%, as we have already had in the first quarter.

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Domenico Santoro, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [7]

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All right. And the question about the sales instead, can you give us any indication?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [8]

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The sales -- net sales, clearly, we -- on the net sales, we are expecting our net sales remaining pretty robust. Clearly, now based on the most recent developments, we are starting on selling, let me say, in uncharted waters -- very nice uncharted waters to sale because as we were seeing, there is a disruption in the clients' behaviors at the moment in the market that is clearly coming in our favor. So I don't want to be too optimistic, so to say that we can keep on having the same net sales we had in the month of March and April is not going to be serious. But we expect that our net sales are going to remain pretty robust and strong because the structural trends behind our growth is -- they are reinforcing because the most recent events are just anticipating something that we were expecting to happen in the next 5 or 6 years, probably, it's going to happen in the next couple of years. Another very important point you can see that these numbers are absolutely amazing and outstanding, considering that Fineco practically, among the big players, is the only one that is not using any shortcuts in incentives. We are now -- we have now several plays that they are massively overpaying deposits for gathering clients and assets. Fineco is not doing that because we don't do that. This massive jump in direction of the -- a much more digitalized and modern world is a massive jump in direction of the Fineco world. And so, on net sales, we remain pretty positive.

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Operator [9]

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The next question is from Gian Luca Ferrari with Mediobanca.

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Gian Luca Ferrari, Mediobanca - Banca di credito finanziario S.p.A., Research Division - Equity Analyst [10]

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I have 4 questions. The first one is, once again, on brokerage. If you were to split the 76% increase quarter-on-quarter between -- what is mix related? And what is more structural long-term and also related to the new products and features you introduced? Could you help us in understanding these 2 trends, please?

The second one is on the distribution cost to sales, you reminded that in Q4 last year, you reported EUR 8.7 million because at the time, sales gathered EUR 1.3 billion. But now, in April, in one month, you did half of the flows of Q4 2019. So my question is, is it likely that in Q2, we will see, once again, something like EUR 8 million, EUR 9 million of incentives to a phase, if flows will keep phase observed in April?

The third one is on the banking book. Now looking at page 7, basically, the banking book added EUR 600 million and 70% of it went into Italian BTPs. I was wondering if now the strategy is to add the vast majority of the increase in the book in BTPs or in Q2, you are preferring other kind of govies like France, Ireland or U.S., for example? Or what is the strategy here?

The final question is on the EUR 6.5 million marketing cost in the U.K. Are all one-off costs related to a specific campaign? Or there will be something more structural, something running in the EUR 6.5 million?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [11]

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So on brokerage, it's extremely difficult to make such a kind of distinction so -- because to say what is related to the volatility and so on. So let me say that the larger part is driven by the new products and solutions and enlargement of the client base and clients' behaviors. And the smaller part is generated by volatility because for example, the -- and this is emerging pretty clearly in the month of April. April has been -- and if you look -- if you have a look to then mix of April compared with the mix of March clearly, there has been a dramatic drop in mix in April. Nevertheless, we experienced triple-digit growth in the revenues. So let me say that the larger part is explained by the new product offer that clearly, as I was saying, is continuously improving and by the continuous enlargement of the base of clients and clients' behaviors. And on top of that, clearly, there is the contribution coming from the volatility.

On the distribution cost, we don't expect any significant jump and discontinuity in what we have to pay to financial planners because as we explained, is there is an -- a large part is represented by decumulation products. And as we explained, we agreed with our financial planners to change their contracts. So now their contract is a contract that is giving to us the possibility of clawing back their bonuses in the case the assets are not remaining with us. And this is giving to us the possibility to split the impact of the of the incentive for the financial planners on a longer period of time. So this is approach that is more current with the kind of products that they are distributing. So the answer is, we don't expect any big unexpected jump in what we had to pay to the financial planners in the second quarter.

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Gian Luca Ferrari, Mediobanca - Banca di credito finanziario S.p.A., Research Division - Equity Analyst [12]

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Sorry, Alessandro, just on this. But when the -- say, is selling the decumulation product, in the immediate moment of the sale, you have to book an incentive in the P&L, right? Regardless of the clawback, you can have for the future.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [13]

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No, the new contract is giving me the possibility to divide the incentive to pay to the financial planners over a longer period of time.

On the banking book, no, the strategy has not changed. So clearly, the -- in the -- and so by in any case, I'm going to leave the floor to our CFO. So Lorena, if you want to give visibility on the most recent investments we made of the liquidity and in which direction has gone?

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Lorena Pelliciari, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO [14]

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Yes. So as you can see on Slide 7, we have invested EUR 250 million with a longer maturity because we bought a BTP -- in the '44 that we have swapped and transformed in a variable investment -- in variable rate. And we decided to invest in BTP to keep in balance our portfolio with the maturity, which is structurally below 5 years. This is the...

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [15]

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No, Lorena was referring to the most recent investment has been made in other European govies, so the latest -- so I'm referring to this because...

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Lorena Pelliciari, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO [16]

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Yes, yes, yes. This is regarding...

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [17]

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The question...

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Lorena Pelliciari, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO [18]

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This is regarding BTP but our investments are more skewed towards govies, such as France, Ireland, Spain. So in the first quarter, we bought more than EUR 1.8 billion of government bonds, Supranational Agency covenant bond. Our investment...

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [19]

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Lorena, please. Please, can give the -- so the most recent investment has been made mainly in France and other country like that.

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Lorena Pelliciari, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO [20]

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Yes, yes, yes. So we bought EUR 1.8 billion of bond and EUR 1.6 billion of govies, mainly in -- we bought around EUR 200 million of Spain, EUR 118 million of United States of America, EUR 100 million in France, so several different countries. And then we bought Supranational and Agencies -- agency covenant bond.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [21]

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So the strategy has not changed at all. So clearly, we confirm that our exposure on Italian govies is going to remain unchanged, and everything we are going to invest is going to move in other directions. And regarding the EUR 6.5 million of margin cost, this is up -- the indication is up to EUR 6.5 million. So this doesn't mean we were going to spend. As we explained in the U.K., we are going to keep an extremely pragmatic approach that is the incremental approach that has been the approach we always used also in developing the Italian business. So the more we get evidence that what we are doing is moving in the right direction and the more we invest. So at the moment, as probably Paolo will have the opportunity to show to you in just a few minutes, the evidence that they are building up in U.K. are extremely positive, based on the feedback we are receiving by clients and so on. And so we decided that it was the right timing for starting on putting a little bit more money on the table. So clearly, this means that for this year, if all these positives are continuously confirmed, we expect to spend up to a maximum of EUR 6.5 million. It's pretty clear that if, for example, it emerged that we are wrong, we probably -- we are going to spend less. And if we are right, we are not going to spend more than EUR 6.5 million. And going forward, again, the approach is going to remain the same. Extremely, strictly in currency with the feedback we are receiving from the market. So the more positive is the feedback and the more money we're going to put on the table. The less positive is the feedback and the less money we're going to put on the table. But it's not a brand-new story, it's exactly the way we built the Fineco business from the beginning. So following in a constant way, the evolution of the feedback received by the market and by the clients.

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Operator [22]

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The next question is from Alberto Villa with Intermonte.

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Alberto Villa, Intermonte SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Head of Analysts Team [23]

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Congratulation for the results. I have a couple of questions. The first one is a general one, is related to the current situation. And I see -- and I agree with you about the positive trends that underline your business. So I was wondering if you have any specific or broad concern about the current situation and your business or the industry that we should bear in mind in the short- and the long-term? If you think there are some, say, elements we should consider going forward? And how you think you will address these, if any?

And the second one is on the recommendation issued by Concept last week about increasing transparency on costs for investment services in Italy. I was wondering if you can give us an update on your view on that for Fineco, for the entire industry?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [24]

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So regarding the current situation, clearly, we -- I'm starting on making a comment regarding the peculiar situation of Fineco. Clearly, we don't have any particularly concern about the current situation because it's exactly the contrary. The existing situation is generating an even more favorable environment for Fineco because we -- what we expect -- also in the case of deepening of the economic recession, we expect the saving ratio remaining pretty high, if not growing even more. And clearly, this, by definition, is a good news for us.

And second, clearly, the -- what's going on, as I was explaining before, is acting as a gigantic accelerator in direction of making the Italian society much more digital and modern. And so clearly, it's an absolutely great news for us.

Then generally speaking, the main point of concern of this situation remains related to the credit industry. But as you know, Fineco is not a business in which we are particularly involved because the most painful part of the story is going to be represented by the corporate business, but Fineco is not a business we are running. So we -- it's sad to say, but for us, the current situation is creating clearly an even more favorable environment than it was before.

Regarding the recommendation of (inaudible), they are very well welcome because as very well known, Fineco has been always characterized by being, by far, the fairest and the most transparent player in the industry. And so we think that every move by the regulatory direction of making the market even more transparent and fairer, it's another big push in the direction of our work.

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Operator [25]

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The next question is from Elena Perini with Banca

IMI.

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Elena Perini, Banca IMI SpA, Research Division - Research Analyst [26]

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I have got some questions on your 3 business lines, if I may. First of all, on the banking business and referring to Slide 22, your EUR 20 million increase expectation in banking fees includes only the repricing started on the -- in February or some other repricing related to the new features of your banking...

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [27]

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No, no, it's just related to the latest repricing. It's not embedding any other repricing.

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Elena Perini, Banca IMI SpA, Research Division - Research Analyst [28]

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Okay. So all the new features will be for free?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [29]

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Yes.

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Elena Perini, Banca IMI SpA, Research Division - Research Analyst [30]

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Okay. Okay. And passing through investing, in your guidance, you mentioned that every EUR 1 billion change of AUM versus the 1st of May generates EUR 3.6 million revenues till the end of the year. But I was wondering if you are able to give us some guidance. I know that it is difficult given the current contract, but on the level of investing fees compared to last year. And then finally, also considering that you seem very good at the moment in switching the nonmanaged assets, in particular, the direct deposits into AUM.

And finally, on brokerage, considering the further reshape of your platform, well, we would expect the brokerage revenues for next year to be lower than this year, considering the exceptional level of volatility, especially in the month of March. But probably this will help you to keep them at a very good level. If you can add some comments on this, please?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [31]

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So coming to the investing sensitivity. Clearly, Elena, it's a very difficult to give you such a precise guidance on investing fees because there is something that we don't manage, that is the market effect. Clearly, in the first quarter, the biggest driver on the investing fees has been clearly the market effect. So we remain -- at the beginning of the year, we gave a guidance of an investing fees growing in the region of low double-digit area. And clearly, probably, this is a little bit -- there is a question mark that is related to the market effect. So if -- let me put it this way. If the market remains in a situation on -- and I'm not saying very low level of volatility, but the volatility, that is not such as higher and scaring as it has been in the month of March, we expect that the usual journey in direction of asset under management is going to continue. And so progressively, we are going to return in direction of growth of the low double-digit area. But clearly, there is the question mark represented by the market effect.

So this is the reason why we prefer to give to the market an indication of the sensitivity for every EUR 1 billion of assets plus or minus because it's the best way for trying to give visibility to our investors and shareholders on what they can expect on the investing fees.

On deposits into asset under management, I'm going to give you an answer, linking together to brokerage because we think that the real point of strength of the bank that -- so we -- because your point was what we can expect to make in terms of progression in moving deposit into asset under management. The other question was, what we can expect on brokerage. So the -- while the 2 questions are strictly correlated because the beauty and the strength of our business model that, for example, case one, volatility remaining incredibly high and with a continuous market disruption, this clearly is going to put on temporary halt the journey of deposits into directional asset under management, but it's going to make the brokerage business literally booming.

Case two, volatility remaining relatively low. In this case, the moving direction of asset under management is going to be pretty robust.

Case three, that, in my opinion, is the case with the highest probability to happen is volatility is going to remain, in any case, higher than it's been in the last few years because the last few years, there has been highest characterized by incredibly low level of value. So volatility reasonably is going to remain above that level.

Second, the structural increase of -- the structural enlargement of the market is going to continue because there is a booming demand of financial informations and interaction with the markets by clients. And so in the case three, we can expect that this volatility being higher than it's been at a very low level over the past few years, but lower respect that has been in the month of March. This is the perfect scenario because we can expect brokerage keeping on doing absolutely very well. And at the same time, also asset under management doing pretty well at the same time. So this -- but we have to work on a scenario. But the nice part of the story that in every kind of scenario, the revenue generation of the bank is going to remain pretty strong. Clearly, what is going to change probably is the mix, but the result is going to be extremely good.

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Operator [32]

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The next question is from Angeliki Bairaktari with Autonomous.

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Angeliki Bairaktari, Autonomous Research LLP - Analyst [33]

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I have 2 questions, please. First of all, when I look at your April net flows press release that you published last week, I can see that the number of customers has actually declined a little bit in April versus March, despite the fact that you gained 7,300 new customers. So I was just wondering if that is a sign of the current account or pricing? And effectively, you have seen some customers exiting the bank on the back of that. And how do you expect your customer base numbers to develop going forward?

And my second question is, on the trends you see in terms of AUM net flows in April and perhaps, the beginning of March, some of your peers have pointed to a very significant reduction in both gross inflows and redemptions from AUM product in April with the exception of the decumulation products due to the lockdown. Have you seen a similar trend? And is there a risk that customers may take money out of mutual funds at a faster pace as the lockdown eases in March and in June and that economic activity gradually resumes and customers might be a bit more risk-averse.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [34]

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So first of all, many thanks for these 2 questions because it's giving to me the opportunity to deep dive in some -- in a couple of very interesting concept. The first one that clearly, what we -- the number of -- the clients we are leaving the bank are clearly clients strictly -- this is strictly related to the repricing. We -- when we introduced the repricing, we gave us an indication we were expected to lose between 50,000 and 60,000 clients, and this is what's happening. And the clients that are leaving the bank are absolutely very low-value clients. So just to give -- for giving you an idea that the average assets for clients that are leaving the bank is in the region of EUR 7,000. So they are -- and what is emerging now is that the new clients that we are acquiring are technically of a much higher quality than in the past. So the lockdown is generating a quite significant impact in the clients' behaviors because many new clients are coming to us. They are coming because they've been incredibly disappointed by the quality of the services received by their original banks because in this lockdown period, for many clients, it's been almost impossible to reach their banks to dialogue with their bankers, and this has generated a massive frustration in clients. And so -- and this is acting as an incredibly effective marketing campaign for the Fineco services. So what we are observing that we are acquiring a little bit lower number of clients, but the quality of the clients is much higher than in the past. And considering that, for us, our goal is not to get on board the highest number of possible clients, but to get on board the highest possible number of good clients. And this is exactly what's going on because one thing is to explain to clients that Fineco is perfectly working and is a company able to deliver absolutely outstanding services. It's another thing to experiment. What does it mean to interact within a perfectly working bank instead of working with a bank that is not working? And this is exactly what's going on.

And this is making, to me, the possibility to answer also to your second question. It's in -- during -- when we released our numbers of March, in which we -- there has been a quite significant outflows on asset under management and that followed by a big recovery in April. It's -- one of the reason is that Fineco is a perfectly working platform. So -- and it's clear that if you don't have access to a platform because it's not working, you are not able to sell. And so probably -- and so this is the first reason why in the case of Fineco, we had in March, this kind of move.

Second, Fineco has an incredibly transparent platform. So our clients have, in real time, the update of the net asset value of their portfolio. So that can be sometime scaring and introducing a little bit more volatility, but it's making clients perfectly conscious and aware of what's going on. It's clear that it's a different story if you don't have access to these kind of figures and numbers because it's a platform that is not giving you these numbers. And clearly, what you can expect that when on the final line, the clients are going to realize the exact situation in their portfolio, probably that is the time in which you can have their reaction. So Fineco -- in order to make the comparison between the Fineco platform, the Fineco world and the other world, Fineco is likely to make a comparison between the financial markets and the real estate market. The financial markets are immediately reacting to all the news flowing into. The real estate market is much more skewed. But at the end of the story, if there is a bad news, the bad news is going to play into effect. So we -- at the moment, we don't -- again, same story. If the situation remains -- a situation decently normal. So I'm not saying with markets going up or volatility coming back down to a very low level. But just the markets not returning to the incredibly scaring high level of activity in the month of March, we expect our progress and journey in direction of asset under management continuing and going in the expected direction.

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Angeliki Bairaktari, Autonomous Research LLP - Analyst [35]

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That's very useful. In other words, if I understand correctly from your comment, you haven't really seen any big change or a suspension of activity from clients in the investing part of the business? I mean, as it was -- business as usual for you?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [36]

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No, it's exactly the contrary because in the most part of the growth that we experienced in April has been driven by new money, new clients entering into the market. And still, we have the clients that exited by the market in March that are still waiting for reentering, and this is making us extremely positive for the future.

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Operator [37]

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The next question is from Federico Braga with UBS.

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Federico Braga, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [38]

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Just few questions left for me. The first one is actually a follow-up on your Italian bond portfolio. Just to be clear, if I'm not wrong, a couple of quarters ago, you guided for roughly stable expectations in terms of size at around EUR 5 billion. At the end of March, we were close to EUR 6 billion. So looking forward, we should expect the bond portfolio invest into BTPs to remain stable at EUR 6 billion or what else?

The second is a comment on your net interest income for 2021. I know that might be still too early, but given where rates are now, I was wondering if you could give us a little bit more color on your expectations for NII in 2021?

The third question is on the financial advisers. I saw that in Q1 -- Q1 has been -- the first quarter in a couple of years where the number of advisers actually increased on a sequential basis. So I was wondering if you could give us a little bit more color on that, if there was any one-off or any change that drove this increase?

And as a follow-up question on financial values, what has been so far the feedback from financial advisers on the change into other contract that you mentioned before in terms of spreading the incentives over a 3-year time of item?

And finally, with regards to the April flows, the -- how much of the EUR 500 million outflows -- if you can quantify, how much of the EUR 500 million outflows from deposits actually went into managed products? And how much was actually driven by clients leaving Fineco or parking the liquidity in something else or whatever?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [39]

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So on the Italian bonds, so the real -- the exact position in Italian bonds is EUR 5.3 billion. I don't know if you make a comment on the difference between the EUR 5.7 billion, EUR 5.3 billion, so please -- because it's accounting difference. So please, Lorena, if you can.

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Lorena Pelliciari, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO [40]

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Yes. So yes, the nominal value of our Italian exposure in bonds is EUR 5.350 billion, and EUR 5.8 billion is the accounting value, including accrual, including interest accrued.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [41]

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And in any case...

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Lorena Pelliciari, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CFO [42]

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The nominal value is the right one to take into consideration, and we think that we have reached our target.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [43]

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Yes. Because -- so we are expected to remain stable, so at this kind of level. In terms of indication on the net interest income for 2021 is clearly assuming that clearly, all the indication produced by the -- implied for are right and assuming it to keep on growing our base of deposits between EUR 2.5 billion, EUR 3 billion and something like that and without changing our investment policy. So leaving unchanged our exposure in Italian govies and keeping on diversifying and so on, we expect the net interest income for 2021 more or less the same kind of guidance. So possibly just remaining relatively flat or declining by just a few millions of euros year-on-year.

On the number of financial planners, we just -- the increase of the number of financial planners is just related to the fact that last year, we has been here characterized by -- the industry has been very aggressive on the recruiting side because clearly, it's been the last year here, characterized by absolutely enormous results. And so this has driven many players in the direction of overspending for recruiting financial plans. And clearly, as we explained many times, we are not interested in playing that kind of game. Now the word is returning more normal and so probably, consider that the market conditions that worsened. And so the industry has returned with fit enough. And so what is hopeful to financial planners is returning to a more normal level. And so -- and for this reason, we are resuming the expected normal direction of recruiting or financial plans. In terms of indication, clearly, probably, the recruiting of financial planners is the most heavily hit activity by the lockdown because as you can imagine, it's practically possible to recruit financial planner without meeting him physically at least a few times. So -- but again, for us, this is not a matter of concern because the largest part of our growth is driven by organic growth. So we don't care too much. But if we return it to a more normal situation in terms regarding the lockdown, we expect a gentle rise in the number of financial planners resuming. The change of contracts for the incentives has been absolutely perfectly accepted and agreed by our financial planners. I want to remind that our financial planners are extremely satisfied because, for example, in this period of lockdown, it's not just for the clients realizing how it's different to be a Fineco client, but also has been on the financial planner side, realizing how it's different to be Fineco's financial planners because when you are able to keep on working perfectly smoothly without any changes with your clients in these kind of conditions, this is a big asset. And the outflows of deposits have been 100% driven by investments on asset under management and asset under custody.

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Operator [44]

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The next question is from Fabrizio Bernardi with Fidentiis.

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Fabrizio Bernardi, Fidentiis Equities S.V.S.A., Research Division - Analyst [45]

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Just few -- there is more questions. The first one is about marketing. If you're trying to launch any marketing campaign in order to address those clients that are totally disappointed by the way the physical banks are dealing with them. I've met a few friends, to be honest, that said that it was almost impossible to talk with the banks despite what CEOs are telling us during the conference calls. And the second question is about the possibility that you could exploit the current situation, the current environment, which is clearly not an easy one, in order to, let's say, enter another -- sorry, another European country in order to really get the most of the situation, considering what I said before about the way physical banks are treating clients, something like a free lunch for you.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [46]

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Regarding marketing, clearly, as we are keeping on -- in this period of time, we are continuing our marketing campaign because it's a great -- the timing is perfect because never the marketing campaign has been more effective, considering that people, they are spending a much part of their time looking to the TV, reading newspaper and is surfing throughout information. So -- but what is really working incredibly well, as usual, is the word of mouth because believe me, particularly with the high-level clients, the word-of-mouth is disruptive in terms of -- because when you are a client of Fineco and you are talking with your friend, and you're saying, come on, my bank is working perfectly well. And the other side, there is someone that is absolutely upset because there is more than 2 or 3 weeks that he's not able to be contacted by the bank or by the banks. And this is the main driver behind our growth.

Regarding the second question, I don't want to anticipate nothing regarding the presentation of Paolo. But clearly, as we anticipated in the guidance we gave on the cost, we have -- there's been -- we reduced the guidance on cost from 5% to 4%. And this is embedded, the operational running cost for running the U.K. business at full steam, that is EUR 1.5 million. As you can imagine, if you are sufficient that every single new country you are opening is going to cost you in terms of operational running cost, just EUR 1.5 million, clearly, there is no limits regarding what you can do in terms of expanding your geography in terms of what you are doing. And again, this, thanks to the incredibly operational efficiency of the bank. So it's just a matter of how much gasoline you want to put in the hedging, but the hedging is incredibly low consuming in terms of gasoline. So EUR 1.5 million for every country that you decide to launch, it's really a very negligible amount. So at the moment, our -- we are going to remain concentrated on U.K. because we want to U.K. be full up and running as you will see in a few moments everything is extremely promising, but it's pretty clear that we are ready for repeating the experience in other European countries, for sure.

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Operator [47]

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The next question is from Luigi De Bellis with Equita SIM.

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Luigi De Bellis, Equita SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Co-Head of Research [48]

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Just one quick question. With respect to lending, which products are registering higher demand? And on which one do you see more risk in terms of new production going forward? And what is your strategy of lending going forward?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [49]

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On lending, our strategy is pretty simple. We are taking an extremely cautious and conservative approach. Lending is the business in which clearly, we have decreased the most our interest on the short term for a very simple reason because unless we don't have a higher visibility on the macro picture, we think that it's extremely important to be very conservative on lending. Clearly, we remain absolutely perfectly. We didn't change our position on Lombard loan because clearly, this is not the case. But on the residential mortgages and personal loans, we have become even more prudent and conservative than we were before, exactly because we prefer to see what's going on at the moment in terms of macro picture, and then we will see. In any case, as we explained, we are extremely relaxed on the lending business because the business is small in a case of very high quality. We think that the biggest, the most relevant demonstration of the quality of the lending book is the fact that we just received only 200 request of moratory by our clients. So the lower is the quality of your clients and the higher the numbers of moratory that you are going to receive in terms of demand. This is a very pretty clear ratio. But our strategy is to be very conservative and cautious. It's not -- if you make a few hundreds millions of euros less or more of lending, it's not going to change absolutely nothing in terms of our revenues generation.

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Operator [50]

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(Operator Instructions)

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [51]

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Now if there is no more questions, I'm going to hand over to Paolo for a quick deep dive in what's going on in U.K. So please, Paolo.

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Presentation

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Paolo Di Grazia, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - Deputy GM of Invst Products, Advisory Sol's & Financial Advt Activities and Head of Global Business [1]

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Thank you, Alessandro, and good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to this presentation. Let's start on Slide #2. In 1999, Fineco disrupted the financial service market in Italy with a simple action that until then, was unimaginable, combining online banking, trading and investment service in one account. This model has enjoyed 20 years of success by mixing the convenience of the one-stop solution with continuous innovation, very high-quality service and fair pricing. We believe that today, there is a similar opportunity in the U.K. market, which Fineco can successfully size by introducing a business model similar to what we did in Italy. A unique one-stop solution with best-in-class customer experience and over 20 years of in-house digital know-how in the financial industry. So the U.K. is an extremely fragmented market, where people have relationships with too many providers. For this reason, we believe that our model, which aim to simplify the customer experience rather than having to interact with several disconnect providers, will be successful, mainly acquiring clients coming out from the traditional banking system.

Let's now move to Slide #3. The type of customers acquired so far already shows that the one-stop solution is a popular solution. Those who initially chose us to -- for multicurrency also trade now, and those who invest or trade also use payment services. We, therefore, have a lot of potential to meet a variety of demand, concentrating all customer needs in one offer. The numbers clearly show that once client has an account, naturally start to use the different service available. For example, 50% of our client traders also used a debit card and 50% of our clients also use multicurrency services. We expect a further increase in this multi-product behavior once the investment service is already as we know that 46% of our actual client base also uses other providers.

Let's go now to Slide #4. So the one-stop solution allows us to target diversified range of clients. So OTC and stock broking users, self investors and multicurrency users, but it also allows us to exploit a diversified range of acquisition sources, ranging from traditional banks to specialized brokers. Both segments are growing, and very often, clients overlap among different targets. This gives us a huge acquisition opportunity, leveraging our one of a kind offer, including brokerage and investment services in one single account. As an example, over 300,000 U.K. clients are both self investors and active in stock broking. We also see tremendous opportunities in the investment arena where the U.K. represents EUR 1 trillion of addressable market, and this number is growing. We plan to acquire a large part of our new clients from traditional banks. This is what's happening in Italy over the last 20 years, and we are seeing the same pattern in the U.K. The table below shows where our new clients are coming from, mainly, as you see, from traditional high street banks.

Let's go to Slide #5, and this slide clearly shows how our one-stop solution can meet the U.K. market demand. Today, there is no financial player in the U.K. capable of satisfying all financial needs through a single turnkey platform. Please note that ISA will be ready in the coming months while SIPP will require the Brexit to be fully operational before launch. And the more detailed timeline will follow later in the presentation.

Moving on Slide #6. Our strategy is also based on service quality. This table show the technological tools available to our clients for free compared to what competitors offer. Clearly, you can see we provide several features such as free market data for trading, real-time screener to identify stocks and budgeting tools used more for banking, obviously, which none of domestic player is capable of offering.

And now let's see -- let's move to Slide #7. As you can see from the 2 table, we are extremely competitive in equity CFD, where we wanted to go with an innovative modeling, offering the CFDs at 0 commission and no added spreads, while average U.K. clients are charged 10 basis points. Indices and FX CFDs are also very competitive spread-wise. A more detailed slide on the type of client we acquired will follow, but we also acquired stock broking clients and a good 12%, 15% are also trading CFDs, where we have a better remuneration. We can offer these competitive pricing, thanks to our proprietary order internalization model, as you know. It's important to understand that currently, we have a huge gap in our favor in terms of pricing but also in terms of function, analytical tools and platform usability. Our operating efficiency and economies of scale allows us to be sustainable and profitable even with such a low fee.

Let's move on Slide #8 now. Our multicurrency service is also one of a kind. We're talking about 20-plus currency multipurpose account that can be used for bank transaction, to diversify liquidity or to invest and trade in local currency, all without fixed cost, foreign exchange fees in real-time and from your website or mobile application. Despite the fact that our purpose is not to compete with other challenger banks and we have a very different target, our multicurrency service can compete with challenges for both small transactions and larger transactions, more in line with the investment and target and trading target that we have.

Moving to Slide #9. This slide shows the great effectiveness of our pricing, both for platform and transaction fees. As you know, some players apply dealing charges to the fund transaction. In line with idea to offer a simple and transparent service, we chose to apply only adopting fee. But once again, I would like to emphasize that competitive pricing is only one of our strength. We believe that our success is combining best-in-class pricing with state-of-the-art services in terms of product range, service quality, user experience, customer care, usability and even the platform look-and-feel combined with a one-stop solution approach.

Let's now move to Slide #10, and let's talk about the marketing strategy. From a communication point of view, our market penetration strategy involves 2 distinct phases: In Phase 1, that already started a few days ago, we exclusively target the most profitable segment with a shorter payback period, meaning the traders. This is the same strategy we used in Italy when we started back in 1999. At the very beginning, leveraging our very distinctive brokerage service in order to be more effective in our marketing expenses.

In the second phase, starting from Q4 2020, we'll broaden our communication to target B2C investors, focusing on a multi-brand platform. The campaign, obviously, focuses on pricing, again, that we want to underline that our low fees are the barest consequence of our ability to leverage and scale Italian technology and our internalization models, which provide us good margins.

Let's now move to Slide #11. So in both phases, our position will be quality service combined with best-in-class pricing. The tagline at the base of all our marketing strategies, in fact, premium service without premium price, where service may from time to time stand for trading, investing or even banking. This way, we are positioning Fineco in the U.K. market with a very unique model, combining pricing similar to a discount broker with the service quality of market leaders in one single package, one-stop solution. For the first phase, we completely redesigned the website. We're focusing the communication on trading and comparison with the main broker to highlight our differentiating points.

Let's now move on Slide #12. Here we see some of the creative subjects that we have -- that we are already using in this launch phase. Our current campaign is focused on the brokerage and CFD services. As we said, the answer to this is on pricing, but we also want to establish ourselves on the market as historical, reliable European leader in brokerage as we are. That's why our tagline, trade without compromise. The performance and usability of our platform are distinctive elements. They will make a difference in the U.K. trading community combined with our wide trading products from CFDs to stocks, bonds and futures and options. This way, we will also be able to attract professional trader clients, which we understand to be a very big community in the U.K.

Let's now move on Slide #13. Since January, we have been working to shift our focus on brokerage, as we said, where our offering is already complete in terms of products, access to the market and technology. So we want to give you a picture of how this new focus is impacting on our KPIs. Key distinctive elements of client acquisition in the pattern, we are going to show, have been pricing, multiproduct offer on trading and the new website and of course, the volatility of this period.

Let's see Slide #14 now. So until 2019, our marketing investments were limited and focused on the multicurrency service, just on that. Just a few weeks ago, we refocused our marketing on trading, also starting to invest in online ads, mainly interchanging and program market displays. And the results are already beginning to show that this preposition works very well. And as you can see in this slide, we can -- we want to show you a very limited investment started last month has already delivered a change of pattern in our acquisition numbers and in the quality of the clients. We wanted to compare a snapshot of Fineco U.K. in the last 2 months with the previous period. So the KPIs on the right side of the slide shows that we are acquiring clients a cost of EUR 600 more or less and the period -- in the period, the active clients generated more than EUR 1,000 of average revenues. We're talking about active clients. So when you look at this figure, remember that we have communicated a brokerage message as we're mainly acquiring traders as clients. Furthermore, the interest in trading and the leverage product in our platform is growing rapidly.

So let's now move on Slide #15. Let's talk again about the good quality of the new clients we are acquiring. In the top-left chart, you can see the more recently acquired clients activate their account quickly and start trading much earlier, so their more in target. The revenue mix has changed, benefiting from trading products and brokerage offer in general. Also, 56% of our clients are placing more than 5 trades a month and 57 are trading CFDs. Despite the fact that we are not advertising the multicurrency service, we continue to see a regular cash inflow similar to the previous month in the nice revenue stream.

Let's now move to Slide #16. And you can see now, here is our general timeline. In the coming months, we will focus on the increase of the investment services to launch our price accounts and branch development. The branch will also be the next step in order to develop other more specific U.K. products, such as the pension plan ships.

And just to finish, let's move on to Slide 17 to see the funds develop -- the development. How we'll develop the investment offering. So let's close with a quick look at the product development timeline. Our trading range, as you know, we said, is a complete 100%. So in the coming months, we will focus on the enrichment of our multibrand investment service. We expect to launch 3 -- at least 3 new asset managers in a few months, and many others will follow with the next few months as we were to reach a good number of asset managers, which will allow us to satisfy around 80% -- at least 80% of the inflows demand of the U.K. B2C market.

So now thank you for your attention. Now I'll hand it back over to Alessandro for questions. Thank you.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) The first question is from Domenico Santoro with HSBC.

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Domenico Santoro, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [2]

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U.K., a couple of questions on my side. It's all very clear. So my understanding is that you will provide the first step, the trading platform. And then, of course, you will move onto the normal services being in the current account we use, just in multicurrency so far. I understand it's a work in progress, but I mean, going forward, in a 3, 5 years' time, how do you see the economics here in the context of the wider group? I mean, I don't see any targets, of course, for the business, but can you tell us whether to the point, you feel confident that this business will represent a next percent of revenues for the group or in the long term, given that you're tackling, of course, very profitable segments for you?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [3]

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First of all, it's very important to remind that we -- at the moment that we are focusing our attention on trading, mainly in terms of marketing because at the moment, there is the multicurrency account is available. And also on the investing side, we are giving to the clients opportunity to start on using some services. So clearly, the strategy is pretty clear, to use the -- to start from trading in terms of marketing because in this case, you are going to get onboard the clients that have the payback period that is the fastest. So you can be quite fast profitable. So just in order to give you an idea because what -- the very important number to consider is the EUR 1.5 million of operating cost. So with this kind of strategy, we can say that excluding the marketing cost, the business is going to be profitable starting from the year number one. So this is a very important point to consider.

And for this reason, it's -- honestly speaking, it's very difficult to give you such a precise idea of what we can expect to go going forward because the approach we are using is the approach we use then building up Fineco, first of all, to be concentrated in having an incredibly scalable and efficient platform, making us extremely relaxed and comfortable because the operational breakeven is immediately reached. So this is the most important point. And then is a matter of how much we want to accelerate or not, but this is strictly related to the houseware we are going to get by the market. So we think that it's not serious to give such a long-term guidance on the business. Clearly, we are the most important message that the scalability of the platform is making for us possible to launch a business that in the -- here, #1 is immediately profitable from an operating -- from an operational point of view. And the market is extremely promising. It's -- the U.K. market is in direction of kind of quite evident disruption because another very important point that our goal is not to take away clients from, I don't know, the established innovative players like of (inaudible), but is to take clients by the traditional banks. The same job that we have done successfully in Italy, and still, we are doing also in Italy, 100% of our client assets is coming from traditional banks. And probably in one of the slide presented by Paolo, it's pretty clear also that from which kind of banks we are taking our clients. As you can see, our represented all the most established than traditional U.K. commercial banks. So it's a little bit too early to give you such a precise indication in terms of contribution on the overall revenues of the group, considering that what we expect in Italy. Also in Italy, we are just at the beginning of our process because our market share is still so small that the opportunity we have also in Italy is gigantic. So it's difficult to make a relative comparison at the moment.

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Operator [4]

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The next question is from Gian Luca Ferrari with Mediobanca.

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Gian Luca Ferrari, Mediobanca - Banca di credito finanziario S.p.A., Research Division - Equity Analyst [5]

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Three questions here. The first one is, you are referring mainly to traditional banks in the U.K. But what about trying to build up a B2B2C network. IP becoming the point of reference for ISA. So building up a kind of nontied agency network in the U.K. And midterm, do you have any idea or plan or targets in terms of how much ISA versus retail clients Fineco U.K. will have?

The second one is, again, if you have an idea of how the investing business will shape in the U.K., i.e., what will be the percentage between some products versus the traditional open platform scheme that Fineco had also in Italy at the very beginning of it's origin?

The third one is about the customer service. Where is the customer service located? Is it domiciled locally in the U.K.? Or is it in Milan? And how many FTEs do you need to serve the U.K. clients?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [6]

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On -- as you know, we -- our preference goes definitely for the B2C business because it's more profitable, it's more stable and has attached and higher values and multiple. It's a matter of fact that Fineco is continuously receiving request by other financial institutions for providing white label services, considering the high efficiency of our platforms. And of course, in U.K., we have been approached by -- for offering our services to independent financial advisers. But for the time being, we remain concentrated on targeting the B2C segment because it's, by far, the most promising. We remain convinced that it's much better to take directly the final clients instead to be intermediated by someone else. So at the moment, we -- our target remains concentrated on the B2C side. We expect clearly that at the beginning, the largest part is going to be represented by the external products of the traditional open platform in comparison with Fineco Asset Management. But clearly, in currency with what has been experienced by other U.K. asset. So we think that on the long run, Fineco Asset Management can play a very interesting role, particularly with structure than the portfolio solutions for clients.

The customer service is located in Milan. And when we are referring to the EUR 1.5 million of cost embedded in our 4% guidance of cost of -- for overall the bank is considering also the cost for the customer care for U.K.

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Gian Luca Ferrari, Mediobanca - Banca di credito finanziario S.p.A., Research Division - Equity Analyst [7]

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How many people, sorry?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [8]

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Paolo, how many people?

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Paolo Di Grazia, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - Deputy GM of Invst Products, Advisory Sol's & Financial Advt Activities and Head of Global Business [9]

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Yes. We are talking -- we can talk about up to 10 people that we can basically use based on the volume of the calls that we have. Up to 10.

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Operator [10]

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The next question is from Angeliki Bairaktari with Autonomous.

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Angeliki Bairaktari, Autonomous Research LLP - Analyst [11]

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Just one question for me. Could you give us the number of the amount of deposits and funds that your clients hold in the U.K.?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [12]

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At the moment, as we -- as you can see, the amounts of deposit and funds is still limited because the most part of the attention is on the trades. But in any case, Lorena, you have some numbers on the deposits that at the moment there are in U.K. deposits and assets?

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Paolo Di Grazia, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - Deputy GM of Invst Products, Advisory Sol's & Financial Advt Activities and Head of Global Business [13]

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We are close to EUR 100 million.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [14]

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EUR 100 million. Yes.

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Paolo Di Grazia, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - Deputy GM of Invst Products, Advisory Sol's & Financial Advt Activities and Head of Global Business [15]

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Yes.

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Angeliki Bairaktari, Autonomous Research LLP - Analyst [16]

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Is that -- that's the total amount, both of deposits and other costs of the assets?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [17]

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Yes.

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Operator [18]

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The next question is from Federico Braga with UBS.

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Federico Braga, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [19]

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Just 3 more general questions. The first one is, what level, what number of clients will make you happy. Let's say, like in 5 years' time, would you be happy with 100,000 clients, 500,000, 200,000? Just the number will make you happy as of now?

And the second question is, again, what are, in your opinion, the key risk to the execution strategy of the U.K. business over the next 12, 18 months?

And the final question is, we saw in the U.S., brokerage and trading fees going to 0. You have already a pretty competitive offering in the U.K.? I mean would you expect similar trends also in the U.K. in the next 2 to 3 years? Or again, how the U.K. markets work? Do you think that fees are a little bit more sustainable with regards to the brokerage business?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [20]

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So the number of clients we are going to make, how happy because first of all, it's a matter of the quality of the clients because we -- as we were saying, we've -- just this year, we are going to be happy because we -- excluding the marketing cost, the business is going to be profitable. So we -- probably with -- I don't know, Paolo, in our extremely basic scenario that is going to make the business absolutely very well up and running of how many clients we are talking about in the next 3 years because...

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Paolo Di Grazia, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - Deputy GM of Invst Products, Advisory Sol's & Financial Advt Activities and Head of Global Business [21]

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Yes. Of course, we're talking not just about number of clients but also target of clients. So if we're able to acquire clients that we want -- we really want, I think that probably around 30,000, 35,000 clients where we could be happy.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [22]

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Yes. So as you can see, it's not such an incredible amount of clients because -- but again, the strategy is working because our base of operational cost is incredibly low, and so this is making for us incredibly easy to reach the breakeven and to be profitable in a very short period of time. And in terms of execution strategy, we -- honestly speaking, we don't see. The only possible risk is that the feedback we are receiving in the market are below our expectations. But in this case, currently what we announced, we are going to -- probably, we are going exactly the same we did with Fineco because the process of developing Fineco is not being straightforward. In some cases, it's been a little bit bumpy. So every time that we -- if we -- there is something emerging that is telling us that there is something that is not working, we are going to decelerate on the -- on what we are spending in terms of marketing, reshaping what we are doing and restarting again. So we are not particularly concerned by some kind of execution risk strategy because the concern is coming to you if you have put tons of money in advance on the table. And so if something goes wrong, clearly, you have tons of money put at risk, but this is not the case because the amount of money that has been really put at risk is very few millions of euros, and we can change any time, and we can reshape the strategy anytime we want accordingly. So we don't see any -- we are not concerned by execution risk. So it's a business as usual has been the history of Fineco.

Brokerage fees going to 0 in U.S. I want to remind that the U.S. market has a structure that is different from Europe because it's mostly a market driven by market-making activities and less commission driven. And the market-making activity is the point of strength of Fineco because when we are talking about the internalization of flows, we are talking about 0-risk market-making activities done by us. And this is the reason why we are able to offer such competitive fees on the most popular products in U.K. remaining profitable just because we are leveraging on our internalization capabilities. So we think that we are going to be able to play this kind of game without any significant concern regarding what's going on in terms of pressure on fees.

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Operator [23]

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The next question is from Andrea Scauri with Lemanik.

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Andrea Scauri, [24]

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A quick clarification on the strategy in the U.K. I was wondering, does your strategy is not implying any acquisition. So everything is organic or if any opportunities arise, would you consider to develop the business also with some acquisitions?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [25]

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No. We are not planning any acquisition, but for a very simple reason. First of all, is Fineco as the -- we are -- we have been always very successful on the greenfield and building up from scratch businesses. And in any case, we think that in terms of creation of value for our shareholders, the building up from scratch of the business is much better. Because if you consider that if you go through and also a small acquisition, you had to put aside and gigantic amount of goodwill and so on. If you compare this kind of goodwill with the marketing expenses that you can make, there is no match. So it's -- so considering that we have an incredibly very well working infrastructure, incredibly scalable, we think that it would be totally a huge mistake to go for an acquisition. It's much better again to go directly for acquiring direct the clients and leveraging on our platforms efficiency and scalability.

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Operator [26]

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The next question is from Luigi De Bellis with Equita SIM.

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Luigi De Bellis, Equita SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Co-Head of Research [27]

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Two quick questions. The first one, what are the characteristics to open a U.K. account with Fineco? Do you need to be a U.K.-registered resident?

And the second question, what is the mix of revenues do you expect at 3 or 5 years in U.K. between brokerage investing and payments?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [28]

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Paolo, if you want to give some visibility on the...

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Paolo Di Grazia, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - Deputy GM of Invst Products, Advisory Sol's & Financial Advt Activities and Head of Global Business [29]

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Yes. On the first question, you need to be a U.K. resident. So you need to be there in U.K. The second question is, of course, in the first phase, the majority of the revenues will come from brokerage. So in the next, say, one year, probably a little bit less, but let's say, one year, the revenues coming from the brokerage would be probably 80%, then they will probably decrease gradually because the investing business will kick in. And so we'll see in probably 2 or 3 years from now, seeing brokerage down to 40% and the rest, the big majority is on investing and there's more partner payments.

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Luigi De Bellis, Equita SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Co-Head of Research [30]

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Okay. And if I may, just a follow up. Do you expect to be profitable also after marketing cost in 2021?

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [31]

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It depends on how much you're going to spend in terms of marketing. And again, the marketing cost are strictly current with success and the progress. So as we were explaining, the incremental approach is based on the concept that the more successful you are, the more money you're going to put on the table. So -- but it's matching the questions made by the previous investor that was asking if you want to go for an acquisition or not. So the marketing expenses are -- is -- are corresponding to -- are something that you are using for creating your business. So we think that it's not the right representation to evaluate the profitability of the business considering the marketing cost because the marketing cost that can be stopped anytime and so what is important is what is remaining. So on one side that you have your operational cost and the production of revenues.

On -- regarding this point, at the end of this year, the business is going to be profitable.

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Operator [32]

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(Operator Instructions) Gentlemen, there are no more questions registered at this time.

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Alessandro Foti, FinecoBank Banca Fineco S.p.A. - CEO, GM & Executive Director [33]

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Thank you very much for your attention, as usual. And as usual, again, for everybody of view that you have interest in deep diving more in some numbers and concepts, please, you can contact us for arranging any follow-up anytime. Thank you, again.

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Operator [34]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining. The conference is now over, and you may disconnect your telephones.