Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo is reportedly seeking small takeovers in wealth management and private banking in Europe.

Speaking in a Bloomberg Television interview, CEO Carlo Messina said that the bank is eyeing acquisition of boutique operators, small players or private banker teams.

In this regard, the bank’s prefers locations with a lot of Italians such as Switzerland, the report said.

Messina said that big acquisitions are not under consideration as potential deal values are too high to offer adequate synergies. The CEO however stressed that the overall wealth management segment provides “a lot of potential”.

At the same time, the CEO stated that the bank is planning the expansion of its insurance, private banking and asset management operations.

The reason for the expansion plan is to counter low margins from lending.

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Besides, the bank is speeding up the cleanup of its balance sheet and improving asset quality by deploying a gain from UBI, a local rival it snapped up last year.

In 2020, Intesa’s net income excluding UBI stood at €3.2bn ($3.9bn), which exceeded its own target, added the report.

In October last year, Intesa’s private banking unit agreed to take a 69% stake in Swiss private bank REYL & Cie.

Under the agreement, Fideuram – Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking (Fideuram – ISP PB) will merge its Swiss bank subsidiary Intesa Sanpaolo Private Bank (Suisse) Morval (ISPBM) into REYL leading to the formation of a CHF18bn entity.

In December 2019, Fideuram – ISP PB partnered with French asset manager Tikehau Capital to launch a fund that will specialise in offering European private markets investment solutions to HNWIs.