Giovanni Dapra' and His Money Plantation


He has completed a Master of Science in Finance at Bocconi, a Master in Quantitative Finance at the Cass Business School in London, and he worked for Deutsche Bank in London for 5 years, in the Global Market Division. That was enough for Giovanni Daprà, a 29-year-old Milan native, to understand that the current financial system, managed by the banks, won't be around in the future, and so we should come up with a way out. A different system needs to be discovered. "I went from the high point in 2005 to the crisis in 2008-2009, and I saw the entire trajectory. I realized that the financial system has been devised this way, and it hasn't changed in 20 years," says Giovannia. "It won't last much longer and it needs to be subjected to an expansive restyling."

Therefore, to stay ahead of the times and stay prepared, Giovanni Daprà left Deutsche Bank. In 2011, along with his former classmate Paolo Galvani and with Andrea Scarso, he founded MoneyFarm, an investment company authorized by CONSOB and Banca d'Italia, with a very specific mission: allow people to take control of their finances. "The idea is to democratize the savings industry, eliminating the role of distribution. MoneyFarm, which doesn't have similar models in Italy, is a financial intermediary which offers customized consulting to private clients over the internet," explains Daprà. "I strongly believe that the powers of the internet, which have only been taken advantage of in part up to now, will lead to huge benefits during the next 20 years." Based on a questionnaire that can be completed for free, a profile of the potential investor and his/her propensity towards risk can be seen. If the investor later decides to rely on MoneyFarm, they will have to sign up for a membership, which varies from a minimum of 9.99 to a maximum of 34.99 euros per month to have personalized consultations in building a customized investment portfolio. "Clients can then do everything independently through their bank, but our job at the moment is just to provide consultations." ETFs, Exchange Trade Funds, are funds traded on stock exchanges which are very safe and "have low management costs, which is why banks don't advise them often."

MoneyFarm currently manages around 150 investors, all in Italy, and around 15 million assets in consultation, "even though our license allows us to operate all over Europe," says Daprà. But they have ambitious plans, with an objective of reaching 60,000 investors in five years, increasing the staff as well, which is currently includes 10 people. "As a first step, we would like to allow clients to purchase ETFs directly from our platform, then opening up to foreign markets. We have set a deadline for these goals for around the beginning of 2013." But the real goal, the medium- and long-term goal, is even more ambitious: "We want to become a point of reference for the overall management of clients' personal portfolios, including classic investments, pension plans and budget management," explains Daprà. "These are functions that banks currently deal with, but there are more efficient methods to manage them, especially since banks should be offering credit." As Giovanni Daprà tends to reiterate, with the current distribution system in Italy, "it can be difficult for banks to work in the interests of the client."

As evidence of the seriousness of the initiative, Daprà and his partners are collaborating with another, very famous, Bocconian: "Nouriel Roubini, who has worked as the advisor to various pension funds, is supporting us and helping us in the investment process. Contact with them is constant and represents an extra security element for anyone who decides to rely on us."

by Davide Ripamonti
Translated by Jenna Walker

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