AXA Investment Managers is making a concerted effort to expand its U.S. presence.
In the past year, the Paris-based money manager has recruited a dozen professionals in the U.S., including Michael Tadlock as senior consultant relations manager last March and Stephen Sexeny as head of the firm’s U.S. client group in November.
Currently, AXA IM has 160 staff members in three offices in the U.S. According to executives at the firm, more appointments will be made in 2015.
Although AXA IM has had a U.S. presence for more than 15 years, prior to 2012 the vast majority of its clients were from Europe, the Middle East or Asia, with only a small portion — about 0.5% — of its total AUM from U.S. clients. In the summer of 2012, the board decided to focus more on the region.
“In 2012, it was pretty clear that AXA IM should do much more in the U.S. So there was a strategic decision to invest in the U.S.,” said Xavier Thomin, Greenwich, Conn.-based head of Americas at AXA IM, in a telephone interview. Since the board saw that there was a significant amount of institutional capital available in the U.S., “it was the right time to accelerate our development.” Now, in addition to winning more than $500 million in new client mandates from U.S. institutional clients in 2014 — including a $397 million investment-grade fixed-income mandate from a U.S. reinsurer — and nearly $4 billion in net new U.S. institutional assets since mid-2012, the firm is also expanding its offerings.
Mr. Thomin noted that, since deciding to focus on the U.S., AXA IM has launched collateralized loan obligations capabilities and is developing multiasset-class solutions.
He said the firm also is looking to do “significant things in mutual funds” through a subadvisory role with a goal of subadvising several billions of U.S. dollars over the next five years. “We’ve been doing this overseas for a while and now we intend to do this in the U.S.”
“We’ve experienced a fair amount of growth in the last three years and going forward, we look to continue to build on that momentum,” said Mr. Sexeny, head of U.S. client group at AXA IM, in the same interview.
Mr. Thomin said AXA IM “may add more portfolio managers. We will continue to recruit within the client and investment teams and continue to invest in the front and back offices.”
Mr. Sexeny added: “Educating the consultant community on our capabilities will be a major push for us in 2015. In addition, we will have a targeted focus on the institutional investor, subadvisory and insurance markets.”
AXA IM had approximately $770 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30. While about $100 billion is managed by U.S.-based investment teams, about $4 billion comes from U.S. clients.