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Axa IM launches global smart beta ESG fund

Axa Investment Managers is launching a smart beta responsible investment product, available in both retail and institutional share classes.

The global equity funds that incorporate the firm’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework aim to deliver between a 1% and 2% excess annualised return with about 80% volatility of a market cycle.

The Axa World Funds Global Smart Beta Equity ESG strategy is registered for distribution in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

It was originally launched in Australia in September 2014 as the All Country World Index Smart Beta Equity fund and, by March 31 this year, the fund had returned 17.97% since inception.

Matt Christensen, global head of responsible investing at Axa IM, said the incorporation of ESG criteria into investment strategies was increasingly driven by regulation, with large investors in several European states required by law to reduce ESG risks in their portfolios, including carbon footprints.

“This is a trend that is not going away, and we firmly believe we will see the gradual progression of responsible investment from a specialist area to a ‘must have’,” he said.

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