ITALY – Scottish Widows Investment Partnership has appointed Francesco Albano as its new head of Italian business development.

Albano will be based in Italy and will be responsible for building SWIP’s presence among Italian institutional investors and pension funds. He replaces Marco Zanuso who has left to join SEI Investments.

Prior to joining SWIP Albano was senior manager within the strategy group at Ernst and Young consultants. He also worked for fie years at Merrill Lynch.

SWIP is building its asset management activities in Italy. It signed a co-operation agreement with COFIRI, an Italian financial institution, in order to provide investment services to Italian investors, and has since won three institutional pensions clients.

Commenting on the business development in Italy, Chris Walker, head of institutional business at SWIP, believes that the Italian market has stabilised and that clients are prepared to pay for high quality products.

“I am bullish on Italy. Compared to Spain and France I think Italy is moving fast and they are proving themselves more flexible. I’d place it among the most attractive developing European markets,” he said.

SWIP has around 70 billion pounds (97.5 billion euros) in funds under management, 15 billion pounds (20.9 billion euros) of which is in institutional assets.