AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) is aiming to distribute its exchange traded funds (ETFs) through more online brokerages as part of its ongoing focus on sustainable growth. This follows the US asset management giant’s launch of its first range of ETFs in the US earlier this year, which it is using to expand its presence in the US market. The firm has also recently established a partnership with Fineco Asset Management and AXA Investment Managers, which will help to distribute the ETFs in Europe.
David Page, AXA IM Head of Macro Research, believes that the current market environment could lead to an asynchronistic recession, which could affect AXA IM’s plans to expand its ETF distribution. To better prepare for this, AXA IM is working to drive its ESG agenda, which is vital in helping to mitigate any potential market shocks. To this end, AXA IM is looking to reduce its exposure to traditional real estate investments and increase its exposure to alternative investments such as infrastructure and private equity.
“It takes a decade to move a portfolio that was mainly office and retail,” declared AXA IM Global Head of AXA IM Alts Isabelle Scemama. “It’s a process that’s already begun as we look to expand our alternative investments and ESG-driven approach.”
To further its ESG agenda, AXA IM is also looking to reduce its corporate lobbying efforts. Specifically, asset managers are taking a hard look at corporate lobbying to ensure they are not supporting companies and activities which could be detrimental to their ESG objectives. In this regard, AXA IM is working to drive its ESG agenda by reducing its corporate lobbying activities, alongside other major asset management firms such as BNP Paribas Asset Management, Natixis Investment Managers and BlackRock.
The AXA IM for Progress Monitor metrics sit alongside AXA IM's financial targets and indicators as additional indications of its progress as an ESG-driven asset manager. This includes looking at the firm's exposure to sustainable investments, its corporate lobbying efforts, and its commitment to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Since then, funds run by AXA IM SA, Candriam and Storebrand Asset Management have sold their stakes; among ESG funds in Europe, AXA IM's ESG fund was the largest in terms of assets under management. This demonstrates AXA IM’s commitment to ESG investing, which it is looking to further increase by appointing four members to its ESG Investment Committee. These members include Impax Asset Management’s Benarey, EdenTree Investment Management’s Carlota Garcia-Manas, HSBC Global Asset Management’s Francis Généreux and AXA Investment Managers’ own Head of ESG Investment Solutions, Marie-Cécile Cervellon.
In conclusion, AXA IM is continuing to drive its ESG agenda by expanding its ETF distribution, reducing its corporate lobbying efforts and increasing its exposure to alternative investments. This is evidenced by the firm’s appointment of four members to its ESG Investment Committee and its ongoing commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.