Goldman Sachs has been quietly doing that for the last five years, building up significant assets in the process but clearly with much potential to further grow this side of the business.
Its focus on Italy as a high growth market is supported by an estimate that households in this country allocated an average of 10.2% of total assets to investment funds in Q1 this year, up from 7.5% in 2010 and still well below the 17.0% in 2000.
The resources at its disposal to deliver highly sophisticated multi asset fund offerings means that it could power ahead as crucial track records are established, assuming the right distribution arrangements are put in place.
While US banking giants are not always a big success story, the sense of adding the steadier flow of sticky assets to the group business profile is pretty compelling.
This was no doubt in Citigroup’s corporate mind last month as it entered this competitive market with a push into the financial adviser market place, both in the UK and overseas.
So should other players in the financial services space be worried?
One key question for all the financial players in the industry is how best to play to their strengths, and over in Hong Kong, Zurich International Life has just launched a whole of life product aimed at doing just that.
When I spoke to Zurich’s Andy Robinson about the product features, he wanted to put clear blue water between the life industry and those offerings from other types of product providers such as asset managers.
His product initiative alongside salvos from Goldman Sachs, with Citigroup on its tail, are forging distinct ways forward, and the industry is all the better for it.