The Italian Financial Act provides that a contract for the provision of investment services, except for investment advice, must be made in writing and a copy of the agreement must be handed to the customer. Where these requirements are not complied with, the contract is void.

A recent decision by Italy’s highest court, the Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) confirms that the requirement that contracts for investment services must be made in writing is not fulfilled by the investment orders simply being made in writing. Such a decision upholds previous decisions of the lower courts, and confirms the interpretation of the relevant provision of the Italian Financial Act, whereby all trades executed in the absence of a written master agreement are void.

The case was brought before the courts by an investor, who also sued the bank for damages arguing that the bank had breached its duties under the MiFID conduct of business rules on information to customers and on appropriateness and suitability. In this case the customer had indicated that he did not intend to invest in complex or risky financial products and was sold Parmalat bonds.

For further information, please contact Nicolò Juvara at Norton Rose Fulbright Studio Legale.