Five Questions about ESG Sovereign Debt Rating – Special Interview with Pascale Sagnier, Head of ESG Thematic Research, AXA Investment Managers, Paris, France – May 6, 2013

Jay Owen SRI/ESG News, The Power of Yin

By Geoffrey on May 6, 2013

On the first Monday of each month Emerging Markets ESG publishes a special interview with an academic, expert or practitioner about a specific topic with relevance to environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) issues.

This month’s interview, the 14th interview in the special interview series, is about ESG Sovereign Debt Rating and is with Pascale Sagnier, Head of ESG Thematic Research, AXA Investment Managers, Paris, France. 

Since it was first established in 1994, AXA Investment Managers has expanded steadily, with the worldwide influence of its parent, the AXA Group, a significant contributor.  The company’s dynamic business development is based on an ongoing dialogue and efficient collaboration between a handful of investment management centres in the world’s leading financial hubs (e.g., Paris, London, Hong Kong and New York) and local distribution offices on four continents.  AXA IM is composed of seven single asset class-focused areas of expertise, each of which is amongst the leaders in its specific fields, and an investment solutions team composed of financial engineers, structured product developers, as well as fiduciary management and asset allocation specialists, who develop the most relevant, best-fit solutions. Its portfolios are either single or multi-asset-class solutions, and are built to always be fully in synch with its clients’ realities: their constraints and objectives, their risk appetite, their commitments to their own constituencies.  Outlining the objectives of the AXA Group, Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO, AXA Group Chairman and CEO, stated:  “Our business is to protect people over the long term. In this business, trust and solid relationships are paramount. This means designing reliable solutions to meet the needs of our clients, managing risks in a professional way, treating our partners fairly, and developing a work environment built on strong values, inclusion, and trust.”  In line with these objectives, AXA has committed significant resources to developing expertise in Responsible Investment (RI). It actively works to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance criteria into every portfolio managers’ decision-making processes, and has developed a range of specialised RI products.  It aims to help ensure that RI is no longer viewed as a niche area of expertise, of interest only to a limited circle of investors. On the contrary, it believes it is a forward-looking investment strategy, which can deliver healthy, long-term, risk-adjusted returns across all asset classes and solutions.  In the words of Henri de Castries: “This is part of creating a sustainable, long-term business, and becoming the preferred company for our customers, employees, and other stakeholders.”  Pascale Sagnier joined AXA IM in 1986, where she was responsible for the research and management of French equities. From 1995 to 2002 she was senior portfolio manager for European equities funds; after 2002, she added the managing the Responsible Investment (RI) funds, European funds and French equities management. From 2005 to 2010, she was in charge of Responsible Investment Research and is today in charge of ESG Thematic Research. Before joining AXA IM, Pascale was analyst for the stockbroker Alphen/Eric de Lavandeyra and then fund manager for an insurance company. Pascale graduated in Economics from Université de Nanterre (Paris X) and also obtained a Masters from the Institut d’Administration des Entreprises (IAE) and a diploma from the Centre de Formation des Analystes Financiers (CFAF).