Annual gross sales and assets invested in retail structured products in Italy (€bn)The Italian market is currently the largest European market in terms of outstanding invested in retail structured products. As of the end of 2009 there was a total of €189.0bn invested, a rise of 11.4% on 2008. However this was a smaller increase than had been seen in both 2007 and 2008 when the outstanding invested in the retail market had risen by 21.1% and 17.2% respectively. The total outstanding invested in tranche products at the end of 2009 was €180.5bn with a further €8.5bn invested in continuously available products.
Despite the rise in outstanding assets, new product sales actually declined in 2009. In fact the Italian market was particularly affected by the fallout from the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and Icelandic banking crisis. Along with difficult market conditions for many issuers, loss of investor confidence and confusion and delays in clarification on regulations, both local and Europe-wise, new issuance and sales fell substantially. This decline had actually begun in the final quarter of 2008.
Annual gross sales across all retail structured products fell by 10.1% from €45.5bn to €40bn, supported somewhat by the continuous products sector of the market. Despite the fall, Italy’s retail structured product market remains the second largest in Europe in terms of annual sales.