The Italian Government on 20 January 2015 approved a new law entitled the “Investment Compact” which provides for the country’s equivalent of building societies (banche popolari) to become joint stock companies. The decree will only however apply to those institutions with assets in excess of €8bn. One of the most significant impacts of the new law is the abolition of the system whereby shareholders are entitled to a single vote regardless of the size of their stake. This is expected to make merger and acquisition for those entities affected more likely. It is important to note however that the Decree needs to be converted into law by the Italian Parliament within 60 days and this process may involve substantial amendment to its provisions.