AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) has been awarded a €125m ESG (environmental social and governance) credit investment mandate by Nippon Life Insurance Company (Nippon Life) in Japan.
The strategy will mainly target investments in European corporate bonds that score highly in terms of ESG factors. The investment approach takes into account not only the financial aspects and risk-return profiles of issuers, but also analyses specific ESG criteria.
Yasutoyo Takada, general manager of Credit Investment Department at Nippon Life, commented: “After setting up our Credit Investment Department in 2014, we have been investing in ESG bonds across the globe, with one such example being our independent investment in the first Paris Green Bonds. Our total ESG bond investments already exceed our immediate target of 100bn yen.
“AXA Investment Managers is a pioneer when it comes to ESG analysis in the area of credit, and we will be further strengthening our ESG efforts through this collaborative project.”
“Corporate initiatives toward sustainability are now essential factors for investment decisions. Going forward, we will be contributing to the further development of the ESG market by communicating our ideas during dialogues with companies and at international conferences. At the same time, we will be striving to ensure that our policyholders get returns on our investments through asset management, aiming to coexist with environment, communities and society, and also to achieve stable growth hand in hand with companies and the economy at large.”
Commenting on the announcement, Anne Velot, head of Euro Credit at AXA IM, said: “We believe that despite the many political uncertainties in the region, the eurozone credit market continues to offer diverse investment opportunities as many European companies remain attractive thanks to their disciplined management of balance sheets and cash flows as well as fast and rigorous risk management.
Francisco Arcilla, CEO and representative director of AXA IM Japan, added: “This mandate is testament to AXA IM’s growing profile in Japan where ESG investing is becoming increasingly significant as part of the redevelopment of the Japanese financial industry under Abenomics. We are delighted that Nippon Life is investing with us in this particular strategy, which strongly resonates with one of AXA IM’s core focus areas- responsible investing.”