Italy awaits you, you lucky investor, you. It’s sunny, the food is great, the landscapes are dreamy and, well, nowadays, it sort of stops there.
Here are a few, OK, quite a few reasons which might conceivably deter you from investing in Italy:
1. A legal system that’s one of the slowest, and most unpredictable in the world.
2. A tax system that’s oppressive and that nobody really understands. Italy’s tax system will also request substantial advance, er, ‘down-payments’ and make a mistake, which you will, and the penalties will be sky high!
3. Enough red tape make your eyes water, if not reduce you to tears, and which will tie your business in knots a thousand times over – before you even get it set up!
4. Corruption a go go. If Italy’s public officials, at national and local level, don’t openly ask for a bribe, a good number of them will expect one, and until that cash stuffed envelope appears, or you buy them a 100 room villa in Tuscany as a present, the red tape will mount up. Try to seek legal redress and number 1 comes into play! Yes, you will need a slush fund!
5. An expensive banking system which will only lend you money if you happen to have several hundred billion Euros in your bank account (offshore accounts may be taken into account). Beware, though, of your cash being sequestrated directly from your, onshore, bank account by the Italian state in an attempt to pay off its enormous public debt.
6. An education system which can’t even teach Italy’s youth how to write a decent business letter, nor use Excel.
7. A complete lack of people with the skills your business needs, mainly because all the best talent has fled abroad.
8. Trainees who expect to become managing director within three days, or less, of being hired.
9. Workers who don’t but who you’ll never be able to sack supported by very powerful unions.
10. Managers who’ll employ wives, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, nephews, cousins and the odd stray dog. In other words, well, see 9.
11. Newspapers and other media which are known make up and distort news. The same media may be used to blacken the name of your business if it becomes too successful.
12. The assumption that if you receive any cash from abroad, you are a money laundering drug lord (Assumption on hold…for now!).
13. Offers you can’t refuse unless you want your multi-million Euro manufacturing complex burnt to the ground. See number 4 too – not keeping the right people content may have the same deleterious effect. Yes, organised crime may affect your organisation, or kidnap your kids.
14. Energy costs which will sap the energy of your business reducing profit margins to 0.00000000000001% – on top of the terrifying taxes and slush fund payments.
15. Clients who may pay you what they owe within a 1,000, or so, days, if they ever pay at all. Yes, you could take them to court – read number 1 again!
Yes, this post is vaguely tongue in cheek, but, alas, most of the above is true.
Still want to invest in Italy? No? Thought not.
Is Italy’s government working to solve these deterrents to investment in Italy? Is it blazes. Instead, believe it or not, it’s wasting money trying to convince others to invest in Italy. It’s not had much luck so far, unsurprisingly.
Come on prime minister Renzi, roll up your sleeves, stop visiting schools for a day or two and get down to some real work 😉