Axa Investment Managers has become the latest group to focus on responsible investment, having increased ESG integration within all investment platforms and making new hires to strengthen its expertise in the field.
The French group has entered the next phase of its two decade-long responsible investing push, as it has started to embed specialists into all investment teams to help support fund managers in the integration of ESG and impact analysis into their investment processes.
As part of the initiative, the group has created a central responsible investment team, which focuses on thematic research, corporate governance, shareholders engagement and developing quantitative solutions.
Amid the wider changes, the group has hired BMO Global Asset Management’s head of governance and sustainable investment, Yo Takatsuki. He is set to join as head of ESG research and engagement at the beginning of November. Previously, Takatsuki spent seven years at BMO AM, leading the global responsible engagement overlay service.
Within the thematic research, Axa IM has focused on three key priorities: climate, human capital and health. The French group has assigned specialists to each of these themes and has made a range of analyst hires to strengthen investment teams.
Speaking about the wide implementation of ESG, Matt Christensen (pictured), global head of responsible investment at Axa IM said: ‘This new step to integrate RI throughout the business will ensure that ESG integration combines the need for common views on thematic engagements, voting and ESG scoring, while bolstering investment teams with detailed ESG corporate analysis.
‘This will lead to increased transparency and clarity for our clients on the ESG footprint of their investments, allowing us to better engage with them and help to direct their funds into those companies that have a positive impact on society.’
This is the latest development in an existing sustainable blueprint for Axa IM, which manages €442 billion (£392 billion) of ESG-integrated assets under management, roughly 60% of its total AUM.