UniCredit's Vecchi to head new Italian wealth division

MILAN, Sept 28 (Reuters) – UniCredit said on Tuesday it had created an Italian wealth management and private banking division that would be led by Stefano Vecchi starting Oct. 1.

Vecchi, whose division will serve around 140,000 clients with more than 100 billion euros ($117 billion) in assets, will report directly to Niccolò Ubertalli, head of UniCredit Italy.

Around 1,400 staff are in Vecchi’s division, half of whom are relationship managers spread across 132 cities in Italy.

UniCredit is looking to boost fee income as analysts think it relies too heavily on interest income – the difference between interest paid to depositors and charged on loans – especially in the current negative rates environment.

Separately on Tuesday, Ubertalli informed staff in a note seen by Reuters that Mirko Bianchi was stepping down as head of the group’s wealth management and private banking business.

During his 12 years at UniCredit, Bianchi has held a number of senior roles including chief financial officer. He will now pursue “new opportunities and challenges” outside the group, Ubertalli said.

UniCredit, Italy’s only bank deemed of systemic relevance by regulators, has been reorganising under new CEO Andrea Orcel, who took over in April from predecessor Jean Pierre Mustier.

Orcel has streamlined the top management structure, axing co-head positions for the most senior roles.

He has also beefed up the powers of the main countries where UniCredit operates, whereas previously the bank’s operations were structured around wider geographical areas.

$1 = 0.8537 euros Reporting by Valentina Za Editing by Mark Potter