Bank foundations, which number 88 in Italy, are non-profit legal persons who exclusively pursue aims of social utility and promotion of economic development, as provided by their respective statutes.
Bank foundations are subject to the oversight of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (MEF), which exercises the ordinary and extraordinary powers of control, as expressly provided by Legislative Decree no. 153/99, and which generally verifies the following with respect to the foundations: their compliance with the laws and their statutes; their proper and prudent management; the profitability of their net assets; and the effective protection of the interests contemplated by their statutes.
On 22 April 2015, a protocol of intent was signed by MEF and ACRI, the association of foundations and joint-stock savings banks, in representation of 85 members.
This agreement has launched the self-reform of the bank foundations, which have committed: i) to adopting appropriate portfolio diversification in order to limit risk concentration; ii) not to employ the net assets directly or indirectly in exposure to a single person for an amount in excess of one-third of the assets stated on the balance sheet; iii) to avoid, in respect of the principle of conservation of equity, any form of indebtedness, except the case of temporary and limited liquidity needs; and iv) to use financial derivatives instruments and contracts for hedging purposes, and in other words, to enter into transactions in which there are no risks of equity losses.
Other than the economic-financial measures adopted, the protocol provides for the commitment of the foundations to: i) redefine some aspects of governance, and in particular, the compensation paid to foundation officers and auditors, the procedures for direct appointment of officers in order to ensure the presence of the lesser represented gender; ii) identify scenarios of incompatibility that might compromise the free and independent execution of the functions of the foundation officers and auditors, especially taking into account any political appointments; and iii) to implement special functional means to strengthen the respect of the principle of transparency.
The 88 bank foundations under the oversight of the Department of the Treasury