Italy Forms Task Force to Lure Financial Firms After Brexit

Italy has formed a task force to lure financial firms from London after Brexit, attempting to attract banks, asset managers and private equity companies to Milan by offering tax incentives for high-skilled talent.

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala are meeting financial executives in Italy’s business capital Thursday to make another pitch for those bound to leave London. Italy’s government will coordinate a group of representatives from the country’s central bank, securities regulator Consob and the city of Milan to deal with the companies and institutions seeking alternative hubs within the European Union.

Padoan said Italy has approved a package of measures that include: a three-year tax exemption on 90 percent of remuneration for professors and researchers; a five-year exemption on half of remuneration for managers and professionals; and a 15-year substitute tax of 100,000 euros ($106,300) on all foreign-source income.

“We have wiped out the competitive disadvantage with other European countries, making Italy one of the most attractive locations for human capital,” said Fabrizio Pagani, the Italian Finance Ministry’s chief of staff. The task force also will meet with companies, especially in the financial industry, in London and New York in coming months, he said.

Milan is competing with rival cities including Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris for talent as financial firms prepare to set up new hubs inside the European Union before Britain leaves the bloc, expected in 2019. Global banking executives have warned U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that they will soon start shifting operations and jobs from London.

In addition to the campaign to bring post-Brexit private firms to Milan, Sala said the city’s top priority is to woo the European Medicines Agency from London. “Vienna and Amsterdam are dangerous competitors, but we believe Milan can compete.”

Sala, who headed Milan’s International Expo before becoming mayor, said he expects a decision on EMA by September.

— With assistance by Gavin Finch

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