Axa IM assets reach record high after bumper 2020

Axa Investment Managers, the asset management arm of the French insurance giant, posted a more than three-fold increase in new money entering its business last year, an uptick which helped boost assets under management to a new record.

Full-year earnings for Axa IM show it garnered net inflows of €40.4bn in 2020, up from €12.8bn the previous year. Assets under management at the end of 2020 stood at €858bn, up 7% at the end of 2019.

An increase in revenues, driven by higher management fees, helped lift overall profits by 6% over the 12 month period to €279m.

It is the first full year earnings under the leadership of executive chair Marco Morelli, who took on the role in September 2020.

Morelli joined the business after Axa IM announced a structural overhaul six months earlier, which led to it combining its investment expertise under two distinct business units — Axa IM Alts and Axa IM Core.

READ Axa IM names Morelli as executive chair

The asset manager said its core business was responsible for €17bn of net inflows last year, while alternatives contributed €12bn. Meanwhile its joint ventures in Asia pulled in €10bn of new money.

Morelli said the new structure at Axa IM was “bearing fruit”.

He told Financial News: “In the context of the environment we are in, it was a good 2020 as far as financials are concerned.”

According to Axa IM, roughly a third of the €18bn collected by its third party business last year went into ESG-focused strategies.

“This is an area where we are investing a lot,” said Morelli. “There’s a risk that responsible investing or ESG stays as a high level mantra. To me, this is an area where you need to move from the high level message to something that is visible and tangible.

“What we are trying to do is define the concept as an investor, such as having every portfolio manager embed the concept and put it into play.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email David Ricketts