AXA IM sheds light on new alternative credit platform

By Ryan Weeks on Friday 7 October 2016

Alternative Lending

AXA Investment Managers clarifies coverage of new global alternative credit platform, will not encompass marketplace/online loans. 

AXA Investment Managers has created a new alternative credit platform, with over €31bn in assets under management. The new platform has been forged through the merging of AXA’s alternative solutions and structured finance teams, and will be led by Deborah Shire (pictured above), head of structured finance.

The new platform will have a physical presence in Paris, London and Greenwich (Connecticut), with a team of over 100 people. It will provide management and advisory services to over €31bn in assets covering loans, private debt, collateralised loan obligations, insurance linked securities, asset backed securities, fund of hedge funds and impact investing.

Asked by AltFi whether the new platform would encompass marketplace/online loans, an AXA spokesperson said: “The assets included in the loans AXA IM's structured finance team invests in include corporate loans, mortgages and commercial real estate; marketplace/online loans are not included in this.”

At the recent AltFi Global Summit in New York, a number of investment managers agreed that determining a place for marketplace loans within the broader alternative credit spectrum will be an important next-step in the maturation of the industry. The question of positioning and nomenclature could be especially important in getting traditional fixed income investors comfortable with marketplace lending as an asset class. 

This latest initiative from AXA mirrors the approach of Amundi, which recently moved to merge its offerings in the nascent alternatives space into one integrated business, bringing together 200 investment professionals responsible for more than €34bn in assets under management.

Other signs that the alternative credit space is heating up include the recent launch of BNP Paribas’ €500m European SME Debt Fund, and the arrival of new mid-market lending platform SME Capital.

“In the context of a low rate environment investors are increasingly looking for high yielding and diversifying assets to provide returns but they also want peace of mind i.e. transparency and a trusted partner who aims to deliver consistently throughout credit cycles,” said Deborah Shire, who heads up AXA’s new alternative credit platform. “I believe our disciplined management style combined with our strong fundamental credit skills and market knowledge will enable us to continue to earn our clients’ trust. I look forward to working with my colleagues to expand AXA IM’s footprint as a market leader in the alternative credit space.”

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