AXA Investment Managers to fold real estate into new €137 bn ‘Alts’ platform

AXA Investment Managers has announced a major overhaul which will see its real estate and infrastructure ‘real assets’ business combined with two other business divisions, all under Isabelle Scemama.

AXA IM said it will merge its €48 bn AUM structured finance business and its much smaller Chorus hedge fund business with Scemama’s €87 bn real assets platform to create a new alternative investments business unit called AXA IM Alts.

AXA IM Alts will have €137 bn of assets under management after the merger. Scemama will also remain CEO of AXA IM - Real Assets as well as becoming global head of AXA IM Alts.

All the rest of AXA IM’s business will be combined in a second, larger division called AXA IM Core which will include all the group’s fixed income, equities and multi-asset platforms and will have a total of €536 bn AUM.

The group is in discussion with employees and expects to implement the changes in Q2 2020.

The key trend driving the shake-up is the persistent low interest rate environment and low returns, which continue to increase investors’ appetite for alternative investments like real estate as well as for ‘innovative and outcome-oriented strategies’, AXA IM said in a statement this evening.

Gérald Harlin, executive chairman of AXA IM, commented: 'We strongly believe in leveraging both traditional and alternative asset classes to provide investors with responses to the current hunt for yield. We want our organization to reflect this belief and that is why we aim to implement a simplified structure comprised of two key strategic business units.’

He said the group wanted ‘more focus and proximity to our clients’, to become more relevant to their needs.

Isabelle Scemama added: ‘Our business growth in recent years has been driven by our team’s ability to create the right products and to source and execute the right deals for our clients, while at the same time continually demonstrating our ability to transact through a range of complexities and risk profiles as well as via multiple entry points and with scale.

‘The creation of AXA IM Alts would allow us to build on this momentum and enhance our offering to clients, while at the same time maintain continuity in the performance and service we provide to them.

‘For me personally, it is a huge honour to have been chosen to lead this significant new business and the hugely talented people it brings together, creating a true global leader in alternative investments.’

It is intended that Deborah Shire will take a new role of deputy head of AXA IM Alts in charge of corporate development.

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