Needs identified during the engagement process compared to issues considered as “material” by materiality analysis are summarised below.
Protecting the Group's capital strength and profitability was one of the most important issues, not only for investors but for the community in general, as it is considered essential for business sustainability in the short, medium and long term and as a guarantee of customers' investments, in view of the Group's institutional role.
The community, SRI investors and analysts paid particular attention to the management of reputational risk, the brand and to evaluating and monitoring social/environmental risks related to investments. The latter aspect is reflected by a growing increase in recent years in ESG investments.
In a context that is increasingly trending towards digitalisation in general and the digitalisation of information, interest in the management and control of ICT risks has increased and in 2016 specific regulations were introduced for the banking industry.
SRI investors and analysts, customers and the community showed considerable interest in a concrete commitment to using sustainability factors when assessing the credit rating of businesses.
The development of a business model increasingly focussed on virtual services has raised awareness among stakeholders, and particularly the community and customers, of protecting privacy. In 2016 this aspect was regulated at a European level (Regulation EU 2016/679).
The significance of compliance with anti-money laundering regulations has also increased, in view of the Directive (EU) 2015/849 and its implementation in the Italian legal system.
Achieving a work/life balance and welfare were two Group commitments that staff appreciated considerably; initiatives included flexible work and people care, and new systems to support staff with family and/or personal difficulties, such as the Time Bank.
Interest is growing in training and in tailor-made programmes that meet specific training needs and help with job transfers.
Staff think the Bank could improve its internal communication, and how it uses communication and streamlines information – particularly on standards and operating procedures.
Considering the increasing focus of national and international organisations on unemployment and particularly youth unemployment, and a quickly evolving context, interest in developing and attracting talent has increased, calling for a more proactive approach from the Group.
The “design thinking“ model, which has evolved from the Customer Experience model and is part of the new Banca dei Territori service model, was appreciated in particular; this model addresses how products and services are developed, starting from customer engagement, to understand specific needs. Staff consider personal relations with customers as essential for building a relationship based on trust, with an added value that is unique even when compared to new digital tools.
The integrated multi-channel approach is seen as a strength of Intesa Sanpaolo and a necessary step to remaining competitive on the market. Plus the availability of virtual channels (the website, App, online platform etc.), means bank/customer engagement is 24/7, communication and operations are more effective and efficient (appreciated in particular by younger customers, who are more inclined to use digital channels), and close customer relations can be maintained, even without actual branches.
Lastly, Intesa Sanpaolo's commitment to developing and creating innovative mechanisms for businesses (for example: the tech-market place) and services to facilitate matching and networking between businesses and local players with a high innovative potential was appreciated in general.
In a context where the effects of the economic and financial crisis are still evident, more vulnerable stakeholders, such as the elderly, the young and immigrants need financial services and products more targeted to meet their specific profiles.
Corporate customers would like to see the development and consolidation of specific sector expertise to support businesses, and the capacity of the banking industry to understand, know and evaluate aspects differentiating each market. The role of the manager and a team of specialists are fundamental in this.
Advice for new businesses and start-ups with a high level of innovation is considered fundamental, with a demand for products dedicated to developing business ideas and advisory services (particularly concerning bureaucratic, administrative and tax aspects), training and networking with investors and other companies to encourage dialogue and business combinations (business networks, innovative hubs, etc.).
In 2016, various international initiatives raised awareness of environmental aspects, calling for a concrete commitment to reducing the environmental impact of emissions, energy, and the use and management of resources and waste (COP21, Agenda 2030, SDGs, etc.). Corporate customers consider Bank products encouraging solutions that benefit the environment as fundamental, in particular energy efficiency products that cuts costs for businesses too. Customers are also interested in products and services that provide incentives to improve the environmental performance of buildings, to extend environmental awareness to business issues and to property development or redevelopment for a better management of environmental impact.
Corporate customers hope the Group's commitment to developing a more sustainable economy will engage them further with dedicated initiatives and events, the development of products and services that combine knowledge of the financial industry and green businesses and mechanisms/initiatives to help businesses network.