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The high-paying Italian banks still excited about 2023

It might be the season for job cuts and hiring freezes, but not every bank is so negative about things.

Two banks, in fact, seem positively bullish. Both are based in Milan. One is UniCredit – now run by the one and only Andrea Orcel, a banker with a “radical Anglo-Saxon approach to investment banking culture.” The other is Mediobanca, headed up by Alberto Nagel. Orcel might be a larger-than-life figure, but Nagel has a humbler resume – he’s a Mediobanca lifer.

Richard Burton, the head of UniCredit’s Corporate and Investment Bank, informed Financial News this week that the bank’s strategy is to be seen as a “European leader in investment banking,” building on a strong, historic, strength in debt capital markets (DCM). UniCredit added some 20 bankers to its investment banking business in 2023, whilst rivals on both sides of the Atlantic cut back.

Some of Unicredit's new additions include Salvatore Di Stasi, a former UBS banker and UniCredit's new head of equity and credit sales and trading, and Patrik Zeigherman, a Nomura veteran and UniCredit's new head of advisory and capital markets for Germany.

Unicredit has hiked pay in the era of Orcel. Average bonuses for material risk takers (MRTs) at the bank have increased from €121k to €304k. The quotient of top bankers earning over €1m has gone from just just 34 in 2019 and 12 in 2020, to 55 in 2021, and to 59 in 2022. Orcel came to UniCredit at the start of 2021. Just saying.

Mediobanca is on more a subtle warpath. It acquired a top French boutique – arguably the top French boutique, Messier Maris – back in 2021. It then bought London-based boutique, Arma Partners, yesterday. 

Although Mediobanca didn't have as many top earners as UniCredit, it pays them very, very well. Average compensation for investment banking MRTs in 2022 was just shy of €1.1m, much higher than UniCredit and more on par with MRT pay at Barclays or Deutsche Bank. Last year, Mediobanca also had as many bankers earning over €2m than UniCredit, and more earning over €2.5m outright.

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Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: Zeno.Toulon@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance.

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Photo by Michele Bitetto on Unsplash

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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