Orrick Helps Rescue Italian Banks Through Work With Quaestio


Orrick’s Corporate team in Italy is helping to shore up Italy’s banking sector as legal coordinator to Quaestio Capital Management SGR. Quaestio is the asset manager for Atlante, the Italian private equity fund focused on recapitalizing struggling Italian banks and purchasing Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) from the same.

Atlante – named after the mythological god who held up the sky – was formed in April of this year in response to bad loans that had been plaguing many banks and leading to poor profitability. Its investors include 67 Italian and foreign Institutions, including leading banks, insurance companies, banking foundations and the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. In only two weeks, the fund was able to raise €4.25bn, and bought controlling interests in Banca Popolare di Vicenza, the eighth largest bank in Italy, and Veneto Banca, the 10th largest.

The work of Atlante and Quaestio has been lauded for saving the Italian banks from a full-fledged crisis, and has received worldwide coverage in The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Economist, to name a few.

The venture has been endorsed by the European Central Bank, Bank of Italy and the Italian government. A second fund, Atlante 2, has already raised an additional €1.7bn to save Italy’s third largest lender, and is “considered key to resolving Italy’s banking troubles,” as stated by The Financial Times.

Orrick has played a leading role in coordinating the work of the law firms involved and in advising Quaestio on issues related to the corporate governance of Banca Popolare di Vicenza and of Veneto Banca. Orrick supported Quaestio in appointing the new Boards of Directors, Committees and Statutory Auditors in compliance with European legislation on the “fit and proper” requisites for governance and control bodies of banks (CRD IV Directive). The “fit and proper” requisites are more stringent than current Italian law, in particular, with respect to the assessment of the criteria of professionalism, the complementarity of professionalisms, and, with respect to Committees, the availability of time and accumulation of positions, full disclosure of the professional past, managerial abilities, and the ability to manage complexity.

We have also provided guidance on Quaestio’s relationship with the Italian and European Vigilance Authorities, with the European Central Bank and with respect to the management of the banks that have invested in the fund.

Orrick has been appointed by Veneto Banca to assist it in the forthcoming regulatory NPLs transaction, and it is acting as the corporate and law advisor to Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca’s Boards of Directors.

Our team is led by Alessandro De Nicola and includes Marco Dell’Antonia, Laura Cappiello, Anna Spanò, Paola Barometro, Daniele Consolo, Federico Urbani and Andrea Casini. The NPLs team is led by Patrizio Messina and Gianrico Giannesi.