AXA signs deals to bolster its responsible investment pledge



AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) has announced the implementation of a number of measures to “improve the capabilities” of its responsible investment arm.

The first of these sees three new faces added to its team of analysts. Lusia Florez, formerly of Groupama Asset Management, joins as a senior fixed income analyst.

Meanwhile, June Choi and Vincent Compiege have been installed as senior corporate governance analyst and quantitative analyst respectively.

The firm has also struck a deal with environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) research organisation, Responsible Research, which will act as an adviser to AXA IM’s responsible investment strategy.

Added to this, business advisory firm Deloitte has independently audited AXA IM’s responsible investment funds to check ESG conformity. The final measure, the group hopes, will increase responsible investor confidence within the organisation.

Matt Christensen, global head of responsible investment for AXA IM said, “The ESG approach is about uncovering a hidden risk or a promising opportunity not always obvious when taking a purely financial view of investments.

For example, our research shows that our recommended companies with a good ESG record outperformed comparable companies with a poorer ESG record by over 50% during the period February 2008 to December 2011.”

Dominique Carrel-Billiard, CEO of AXA IM, added: “At AXA IM we firmly believe that ESG factors contribute to superior risk adjusted returns for clients in the long term.

This is why we are committed to helping clients demonstrate this ESG impact so that a responsible investment approach is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ box ticking exercise but an integral component of investment decision making.”

AXA IM’s triple-header of responsible investment measures comes just days after the FTSE Group announced it was to launch an ESG service unit, after investors had urged it to do so.

Similarly, the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment formed a partnership last month with Lansons Communications in order to realise its ESG ambitions.

Organisations that are seemingly ramping up their ESG efforts form a long line of similar firms that are beginning to see responsible investment as not only essential for business, but also profitable for finances.

The UK’s socially responsible investment (SRI) sector received a two setbacks last year after Aviva and Henderson both announced the closure of their SRI arms. However, the Henderson team now form part of WHEB Asset Management’s SRI line-up.

Given the increasing number of firms looking to encompass ESG and SRI into their investment strategies, we urge you to consider funds that are governed in this way. Our Guide to Sustainable Investment will set you on the right track, so download it for free.

Further reading:

Henderson team happily flies into WHEB

FTSE answers ESG demand with launch of service unit

UNPRI recruit Lansons to push ESG efforts


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