AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) has stopped managing equity and fixed income portfolios in Hong Kong a few months ago, the firm told AsianInvestor.
As a result, its head of Asian fixed income James Veneau, also known as Jim Veneau, left the firm at the end of August, along with three portfolio managers in the fixed income and equities teams in Hong Kong.
“Emerging markets portfolio management across fixed income and equities are now concentrated in two hubs: London and Paris, and have been reinforced with new hires,” a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.
Distribution and trading activities continue to be managed locally, the spokesperson said, adding that the French firm will continue to distribute its global offerings to Asian clients via the local sales team.
“Asia Pacific continues to be a strategic priority for AXA IM as a region, with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Shanghai,” the spokesperson said.
AXA IM had been expanding its business in Asia over the past decade.
After the reorganisation, the Hong Kong office will have 64 employees and remains the firm's largest office in Asia, with China being one of its key markets.
Six portfolio managers are impacted by the reorganisation, of which one relocated to Singapore and works for the AXA IM equity team as an advisor and researcher on the Asian portfolios.
“During this process, we have supported impacted employees and ensured the transition regarding portfolio management activities was seamless for our clients," the spokesperson said.
Former head of Asian fixed income James Veneau was an investment veteran with over 20 years of experience. He was with AXA IM for nearly ten years, and had overseen Asian fixed income since May 2014.
Before AXA IM, he spent more than eight years at HSBC Global Asset Management in senior roles on Asian fixed income.
Veneau didn’t respond to an inquiry about his next step.
Other departures included senior portfolio manager for fixed income Fung Honyu; portfolio managers at the equities team Liu Jisheng and Chuang Wei Lun.
Fung joined AXA IM in 2014 and reported to Veneau.
Earlier this year, AXA IM also terminated its seven-year-old hedge fund unit, AXA IM Chorus, with chief investment officer Hector Chan leaving in early June.
Ongoing geopolitical tensions and a slowing Chinese economy are increasingly being cited as key reasons for foreign businesses withdrawing or downsizing in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Most recently, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund decided to close its only China representative office in Shanghai and move the operational functions to Singapore in an “adjustment of operating business model”.