Informations and abstract
Despite the chances given by the recent legal and institutional changes (above all, the completion of European unification), the Italian financial system still suffers from structural problems which a) generate negative effects on the governance of small and medium-sized enterprises and b) prevent an adequate support to their long-run growth. Concerning banks, the major worries relate to the firms' financial structure, still too dependent on bank loans, and to the firm-bank relationship, still characterised by multiple borrowing and a poor role for the main bank. Not surprisingly, these conditions fail to generate correct incentives for banks to carry out an efficient control on borrowers. Regarding the other financial intermediaries, their ability to respond to a potentially relevant increase in the demand for innovative financial instruments can be reasonably questioned, on the basis of the recent evidence. An adequate development of the needed skills seems necessary for Italian financial intermediaries, especially in a context of global markets where financial support is for small and medium sized enterprises a necessary requirement to successfully compete.