AXA Investment Managers has made a number of hires and restructured part of its investment team in an attempt to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors into all its strategies.

It has begun adding responsible investment specialists into its various teams, and has created a central dedicated group to oversee the implementation. 

The central responsible investment team focuses on “thematic research, corporate governance and shareholder engagement, as well as on developing quantitative solutions”, AXA IM said. It is led by Matt Christensen, global head of responsible investment.

Christensen said the new development would improve transparency for clients regarding the carbon footprint of the investments. He also emphasised the asset manager’s work on impact investing, including its aim to support “companies that are making positive contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

Andrea Rossi, chief executive officer at AXA IM, said responsible investment was one of the group’s “strategic priorities”.

“Not only because clients are telling us that responsible investment matters to them, but also because we are convinced of the important role finance plays in fostering a society that supports fairness and equity, as well as an environment that can sustain us in the future,” he added.

“Pursuing our ESG integration and developing further our responsible investment offering is part of our investment plan announced in June , and we wish to seize this opportunity to make us better investors for our clients.”

Hiring spree

As part of the changes, AXA IM has hired Yo Takatsuki as head of ESG research and engagement. Takatsuki will join the firm in November after a seven-year spell as director of governance and sustainable investment at BMO Global Asset Management.

Other recent hires made as part of the changes include:

  • Marie Fromaget, human capital and diversity analyst, previously an ESG research analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux;
  • Rebecca Greenberg, ESG credit analyst, previously an associate analyst at Moody’s;
  • Shah Khan, ESG specialist for AXA IM’s quant arm Rosenberg, previously an investment analyst at UMB Bank;
  • Melina Leprince-Ringuet, ESG analyst for the Framlington active equity business, previously a sustainable investment analyst at Inflection Point Capital Management; and
  • Augustin Monnoyeur, ESG credit analyst, previously a senior oil and gas research analyst at CreditSights.

In June, AXA IM announced a major restructuring programme, reorganising its asset class teams and pledging to invest €100m in developing its offerings in fixed income, multi-asset, and alternatives.

At the time the company said it aimed to complete the reorganisation by the end of this year, subject to consultation with employees in the UK and France. It warned that the changes “could potentially impact 210 positions worldwide”, including 160 positions in France and 40 in the UK.