Broken trust

Italy's pension trusts provide generous benefits to the country's professions. But their troubled structured product investments are attracting scrutiny. Marco Lo Conte reports

Italy's professional classes did not expect to come back from their summer holidays to find their pension funds being battered by a financial crisis. The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September 15 unexpectedly impacted the professionals' 'first pillar' pensions, because the doctors' and retailers' trusts had in recent years been among the bank's most active Italian buyers of collateralised debt obligations (CDOs).

But Lehmans was not alone in doing brisk business with the trusts. Other well

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