FRANCE – The French arms of AXA Investment Managers and Societe Generale Asset Management have formed a joint venture to provide custody services for the two associations’ employee company savings accounts (epargne salariale).

The two French institutions feel that the company savings market is becoming increasingly important, and is being recognised as one of the most competitive methods for workers to save on a medium-term basis, or to prepare for their retirement.

In order to take advantage of the synergies between the two managers, reducing costs and improving quality of service, AXA IM and SG AM have joined forces to create the new custody platform that will deal with the processing of accounts and payments. The two companies will continue to offer their own separate financial products and services, and will retain their respective client relationships.

As yet the new company does not have a name, but it will commence operation early next year. No estimate has been given on the amount of assets under custody that will be managed by the venture.

The new firm will be based in Nantes and will handle the accounts of around 1.6 million employees. The service will also be open to other French savings account providers to use.

SG AM and AXA IM are France’s second and third largest players respectively in the French savings account market.