AXA Framlington gears up ahead of Hong Kong office opening
11 January 2013
News, Asia, Global, Hong Kong
By Toby Garrod
With anticipation building for a rebound in global equities, in response to rising interest rates, and the continued rise of Asia as a global financial and economic pillar, AXA Framlington’s expansion into Hong Kong over the first quarter of the year is proving timely.
AXA Framlington is the fundamental equity component of the broader AXA Investment Management (AXA IM) division within the AXA Group.
AXA Framlington’s global head Mark Beveridge expounds on the entity’s presence in the region: “The catalyst for this move is the rising importance of Asia for AXA IM. Also, the discussions we have in terms of business development highlight the importance of having Asian products. In terms of credibility, Asian products have to be managed in Asia. As we establish ourselves here, we need to ensure things are done in the right way, which means strong competency and infrastructure. We've done significant work in these areas already.”
Given the firm’s strategic lilt, which emphasises concentration and communication among key personnel, the shift into Asia has come after considerable contemplation.
“I’m not a big fan of having millions of people spread all over the world as portfolio managers and analysts,” says Mr. Beveridge. “In my view, it’s best to have fewer locations and larger teams because most of the information we get is really from sitting across from each other and sharing investment ideas and thoughts. But with Asia, I think the region warrants having a larger presence because they can provide information to our emerging market teams.”
Having bitten the bullet, Asia now seems set to eventually become home to a sizeable AXA Framlington team, bolstering the well-established AXA IM presence already operating out of Hong Kong. Key team members will start moving over from Europe in the coming month to kick off proceedings.
AXA IM’s head of APAC Jean-Pierre Leoni voices his support: “With this office opening, AXA IM again demonstrates its commitments to Asia. This set up is for the long term.”
Importantly, the Asia office will feed its knowledge and research back into the global emerging markets team, which itself is fairly recently established.
“We are aligned with the AXA Group insurance company, and are putting investment resources into the region with the objective of building a robust emerging markets team, which has been built from scratch over the past 18 months in order to round out our global product range,” says Mr. Beveridge.
AXA Framlington’s need for an Asia presence underscores both its own global development and the growing recognition of the AXA IM brand.
“We currently manage 33 billion euros,” says Mr. Beveridge. “The overwhelming majority is European, with a 50-50 split across retail and institutional. We’ve been raising between 5-10% of our AUM every year and I’m confident that in 2013 we’ll raise at least that, if not a little more.”
“Our AXA IM brand and its model have become increasingly well know over the past two years, and this latest development from AXA Framlington will further enhance the brand’s exposure,” says Mr. Leoni.
From left to right: Jean-Pierre Leoni and Mark Beveridge
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