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Axa IM unveils first social bond fund

SocietyAxa Investment Managers (Axa IM) is launching a bond fund dedicated to securities issued to achieve “positive and measurable” social impact.

The AXA World Funds – ACT Social Bonds fund will be managed by Johann Plé and will allocate at least 75% of the fund to social and sustainability bonds. The remaining 25% will be invested in “conventional bonds” aligned with a positive social impact.

The latter bonds’ eligibility will be determined by Axa IM’s proprietary green, social and sustainable framework.

Social bonds will be those that primarily address four of the UN’s Sustainable Development goals; no poverty, good health and wellbeing, decent work and economic growth, and sustainable cities and communities.

The conventional bonds will be chosen from issuers with high ESG standards and a strong focus on the ‘s’ pillar of this discipline.

Axa IM will donate 5% of the management fees paid to the fund to several charities.

Plé said the fund has been designed to attend the social dimension of decarbonisation, which he stresses cannot be ignored by investors.

“While most impact investment strategies currently focus on the environment and decarbonisation, we believe the tremendous growth observed in the social and sustainability bond market in recent years is an opportunity to build a dedicated Social Bond strategy and we are proud to launch our first bond fund invested in this space,” Plé added.

Plé, who joined AXA IM in 2009, is a senior portfolio manager within the firm’s fixed income team and is responsible for the £45m Euro Aggregate and Impact strategies.

The new strategy, which will have the ICE Social Bond Benchmark as its index, will sit alongside Axa IM’s other ACT funds, ESG strategies which were all renamed as such in 2021.

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