this is how foundations defy the crisis»-

this is how foundations defy the crisis»-

Francesco Profumo

The flow of dividends for foundations of banking origin decreased in 2022. According to the Acri report on the aggregate financial statements, they fell to 1,243 million euros (-20.3% compared to 2021): of which 640.8 million from bank participations (45% of total proceeds, which are 1,424 million) and 602.2 million from non-bank participations (42.3% of total proceeds). On the other hand, despite the storm on the markets, the foundations increased their disbursements, which rose to 962.2 million euros (+5.3%). Disbursements intended for welfare at 332.3 million euros (34% of the total).

Chairman Francesco Profumo, dividends from banks remain the main source of support for foundations while other coupons are declining.

If we compare the 2022 income data with 2021, we realize that there is no trend but an oscillation: last year the dividends from the transferee were 29.3% and those from other shareholdings 35.8%. In 2022 they rose to 45% and 42.2% respectively, and there was a shift from managed assets to direct investment. The real lesson learned is the need to diversify to contain the impact of the markets and prevent situations that are difficult to manage.

Provisions are down, but disbursements are up. There are 31 loss-making foundations. In a time of polycrisis, how do you ensure secure revenues to pour them into the territories?

By diversifying. And then by adopting an anti-cyclical approach whereby disbursements for the year are established on the coupons of the previous year. In addition, by setting aside resources in the positive years in the stabilization funds for disbursements amounting to 2 billion, i.e. 2 years of disbursements in normal times. Furthermore, the provision deriving from the reduction of the taxable income on dividends from 100% to 50%, as per law 178 of 2020, is proving to be useful, a measure that inaugurates a new scene of fiscal subsidiarity: the State renounces its taxation and shares it, defines a perimeter of subsidiarity where it identifies priorities, this is the element of modernity.

How do you explain the changes in the statute of some foundations, including Compagnia di San Paolo? A way to set limits on politics?

Foundations are living organizations and therefore evolve, which is why the statutes are updated over time and authorized by the Mef. And the solution adopted, in some cases, of the three names that the designating bodies are determined to propose goes in the direction of putting the people with the best skills to administer these bodies. The Compagnia did so because it has a solid tradition with the 12 designating bodies and decided to proceed by direct designation. Then there are three major elements: first, that the Compagnia is an increasingly hybrid foundation, not just a provider; second: the financial instruments are more sophisticated than the non-repayable fund and this allows the leverage to be raised from 3 to higher numbers (on the Pnrr game the effects are 30-40); third: on the advisory board we have young people that we have selected for a few years and we hope that they can enter governance.

How do you see agreements between foundations in bank shareholders?

The foundations are private subjects and decide autonomously, in compliance with the law. As envisaged for the shareholders of all companies, also in this case shareholders' agreements are possible. The objective to be pursued is the exclusive interest of the company in order to increase its value and impact on the territories. This means that it depends on each case. On Mps we did a system operation and we are glad we did it.

How is the fund for the Digital Republic progressing?

The fund has been operational for less than a year and has already launched 4 tenders. The one on neet and the one on young women collected over 300 proposals. The other two are dedicated to the unemployed, inactive or workers with jobs at high risk of being replaced and are closing the request for project proposals in these days. All 4 field 40 million of the 350 that the foundations foresee in 2022-26, because they are Pnrr funds. The positive balance, the response of the territories was very interesting. All the signs confirm that the demand for digital skills is deeply felt in our country.

At what point is the process of aggregation of foundations in difficulty?

In Italy there are about ten. In these first six months of the year we have worked on two situations, stimulated by the MEF. We have to learn the mechanism well, not simple, but we are making good progress. I hope that in the second half of the year there may be a first example that paves the way and acts as a driving force.

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