UK / ITALY – Edinburgh-based Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) has entered into a cooperation agreement with Italian investment bank, Cofiri Sim, to pursue new business opportunities in the segregated institutional asset management market in Italy.

The joint venture will offer both specialist and multi—asset management capabilities and will operate from offices in both Rome and Milan. It will be headed by Gilberto Babrielli, who is also the chairman if its parent company, the independent merchant bank and financial services group, Cofiri SpA.

Chris Walker, head of SWIP’s institutional business, says SWIP will take care of the new partnership’s global business, whilst Cofiri will concentrate on the domestic side : “We believe Italy will soon be our major market. It has until now remained largely domestic but is about to open up in a big way. It also has a large number of charitable funds which interest us enormously.”

Gabrielli adds: “Our operational capabilities and in-depth knowledge of the domestic Italian market together with SWIP’s global research-driven process is ideal for what we intend doing.”

SWIP, part of the Lloyds TSB group, had some €127bn in funds under management as of 31/12/01.