FRANCE/IRELAND – French asset managers, Axa Investment Management (Axa IM), has launched its second hedge fund to invest in the futures markets, Axa Futures II, which is listed on the Irish stock exchange but domiciled in the Cayman Islands.

The new fund, which has both a US dollar and euro denominated share class, is targeted at institutional investors, fund of hedge funds, private banks and high net worth individuals.

The minimum investment level is set at US$100,000 or €100,000 and it will invest across the US, Europe and Asia in 20 futures contracts representing a range of underlynig assets, such as stock indices, fixed income, short-term interest rates, currencies. and commodities.

It uses a “proprietary systematic approach” and follows the success of Axa IM’s first hedge fund, Axa Futures, which, using the same investment style, achieved a 12.95% return last year against a volatility target of 8%. The new fund, however, will be less conservative, with significantly greater risk exposure, say the managers.

Says Antoine Josserand, a director at Axa IM’s structured and alternative investment management division: “Although the Axa Futures fund relatively conservative risk/return profile has proven appropriate for many investors, others have expressed clear interest in a more aggressive profile. In response to that demand, we have now launched Axa Futures II which uses the same strategies as the first fund, but with double the exposure.”