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AXA IM Framlington Equities evolves internal research focus to incorporate thematic approach

  • 19 December 2018

AXA IM Framlington Equities have adapted their internal research capabilities in order to better align with the long term thematics associated with the rapidly Evolving Economy.1

Mark Beveridge, Global Head of Framlington Equities at AXA IM commented:

“Equity investment is changing. While globalisation has made geographical listing less relevant for investors, sector definitions have also not evolved over time; the reality is that markets and companies have. Companies are increasingly multi-sector businesses and traditional sector definitions do not apply any longer. For example how do you classify companies like Amazon; is it a cloud company, logistics firm, e-commerce or an organic food retailer?

“Knowing companies, meeting their management teams and being a long term active manager is essential in identifying companies that are exposed to these growth themes. Passive investing relies too heavily on companies which fall neatly under sector definitions, meaning investors risk missing out on the more nuanced growth opportunities these themes can deliver.

“We are convinced that the themes we have identified will accelerate over the next decade and believe investors have to adapt. In recognition we have adapted our internal research capabilities by identifying five main long term growth thematics within the ‘Evolving Economy’.”

Going forward Framlington Equities’ global internal research will incorporate the five main thematics that we believe represent the future for long term fundamental growth investing:

Ageing and Lifestyle led by Dani Saurymper focusing on the consequences and opportunities of extended life expectancy

Connected Consumer led by Jeremy Gleeson covering the e-commerce value chain and digital transformation

Automation led by Tom Riley encompassing applications of robotics and automation across a variety of industries

CleanTech led by Amanda O’Toole covering low-carbon economy solutions and sustainable resources management

Transitioning Societies led by Anne Tolmunen focusing on the economic inclusion and changing consumption patterns both in developed and, in particular, emerging markets

Each of these areas are already investable via listed equities and represent multi-decade growth themes with greater than 10% year-on-year growth potential, as well as sufficient geographical, sector and market cap diversification.

Mark Hargraves, Head of Global Strategies at Framlington Equities, added: “The investable universe was already well covered by our regional and sector fund managers at Framlington Equities with a significant presence of small and mid-cap opportunities, an area where historically we have added value to our clients.  This is not new for us, just a proactive, more structured way of identifying the growth opportunities prevalent in the Evolving Economy to clients.

“Ultimately by adapting our internal research focus this enables us to optimise research activities to fully capture the investment implications of these five thematics that are influencing the global economy.  This provides an additional way to identify true growth companies with pricing power and competitive advantage, without being constrained by the traditional barriers of sectors. Many companies are no longer respectful of these sectors and are changing, so are we.”

While active bottom up stock selection remains the main driver of Framlington Equities’ portfolios, the Evolving Economy internal organisation is complementing existing fundamental research, thereby ensuring clients are fully benefitting from the investment opportunities provided by these themes. Framlington Equities have also already begun to look at their fund range in light of this long term conviction with the launch of the Robotech strategy in 2015 (which has now reached approx.EUR4bn in AUM) and the Digital Economy strategy launched late last year, as the first examples.

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    Note to editor

    1. What is the Evolving Economy?

    We’ve identified five multi-decade themes that we believe will shape the way companies operate in the future, which will also have a radical impact on the way equity investors should invest over the coming decades. These themes are the results of long-term demographic trends and technological developments and we believe they offer real growth opportunities for investors: automation, the connected consumer, aging and lifestyle, clean tech, and transitioning societies.

    About AXA Investment Managers

    AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) is an active, long-term, global, multi-asset investor. We work with clients today to provide the solutions they need to help build a better tomorrow for their investments, while creating a positive change for the world in which we all live. With approximately €732 billion in assets under management as at end of September 2017, AXA IM employs over 2,450 employees around the world and operates out of 29 offices across 21 countries. AXA IM is part of the AXA Group, a world leader in financial protection and wealth management.