At the beginning of the 1980s, Ennio Doris, who was a financial consultant for the insurance company RAS at the time, met Silvio Berlusconi by chance in Portofino. Mindful of an interview in which the future premier had invited entrepreneurs to “think big” and declared himself willing to finance whoever proposed an interesting business idea to him, Doris described his idea of global financial consulting for retail clients. Berlusconi approved. After nine months of meetings, Programma Italia was born in February 1982, with an initial capital of 500 million lire (which today would be a little less than 800,000 euro), invested half by Doris and half by Berlusconi’s Fininvest.
Within a few years, the society became the motor of a system that led to the creation of life and damages insurance companies, as well as societies to manage mutual funds. In 1995, Programma Italia, by then one of the country’s principal independent networks, changed its name and was integrated into Mediolanum, a company that Doris had acquired.
The following year, it was quoted in Piazza Affari. The creation of Banca Mediolanum, which also offered online trading services, was the next step forward: a multi-channel bank through which to offer consulting, but also traditional banking services. In 2006, Doris launched a big publicity campaign centered on the figure of the Family Banker, a trusted professional who “brings the bank” to the home of the client, and who helps him to use all of the instruments at his disposal.
In 2012, the worst year of financial crisis for Italy and Europe, Mediolanum celebrated the highest profits in its history: 351 million euro—much more than in the golden year of 2005, when the economy was going strong and Doris’ financial group achieved profits of 233 million, still a record achievement in the business world. Mediolanum is one of only two savings managers in Italy to have a constantly positive net deposit, thanks to “trustization:” Mediolanum offers mainly accumulation plans (the so-called PACs), in which the client deposits regardless of market trends. Those profits also derive from management fees: since the majority of deposits come from mutual funds, and the markets did eventually gain in 2012, there was a multiplying effect on the last line of the balance sheet.
With regard to commercial offerings, in July 2013 Mediolanum was the first Italian bank to sign an agreement with PayPal, one of the principal international operators in the sector of “electronic wallets,” which allows a person to send money from his or her account with the simple utilization of e-mail or a cellular telephone number.