ITALY - Nicola Carcano has been named as head of Mercer Investment Consulting in Italy, based in Milan.

"This is the first of several local hires planned as Mercer Investment Consulting develops its presence in the Italian institutional market," the company said. 

Prior to joining Mercer, he was head of institutional asset management and banking relationships at Generali Group's BSI.

Before that, he was head of quantitative finance for the fixed income department of the investment banking division of UBS in Zurich.

"Italy is a very interesting market for Mercer Investment Consulting, with many exciting opportunities. Nicola Carcano's appointment underscores our commitment both to the Italian market and to developing and diversifying our business across Europe," said Andrew Kirton, European head of Mercer Investment Consulting.

"Nicola Carcano is a highly-experienced consultant and we are extremely pleased to have him on board.  We are now in an even better position to meet the great expectations of the Italian market," said Francesco Lamanda, managing director of Mercer Italy.

The appointment comes amid a flurry of what prime minister Romano Prodi has denounced as rumours about pensions recently.

Speaking at a meeting with the leaders of the centre-left coalition, Prodi complained about the unconfirmed rumours appeared on the media concerning the government's reform of the pension system, according to official news agency AGI.

"The prime minister also criticised those people, like former Finance minister Tremonti, who commented on such unconfirmed news even inviting workers to apply for early retirement," it said.

Civil service minister Luigi Nicolais said the merger of Inps and Inpdap will take three years and will generate, at the beginning, savings of some €200m - and eventually up to €1bn.