AXA Presses Into US Market with New Group Chief

With the addition of a New York Life alum, the European asset manager has built out its US team to 160 staffers—with plans for more.

European multi-asset house AXA Investment Managers (IM) has added a new chief to its US client group as part of a swift and aggressive drive into the American market.

Effective today, New York Life alumnus Stephen Sexeny is in charge of the firm’s stateside distribution and servicing as head of the US client group.

Since December 2013, AXA IM has grown its American presence by 12 professionals to 160. Sexeny’s appointment apparently does not cap off its overseas drive. According to the firm, which manages upwards of $85 billion in assets from the US, “further hires are planned to support its growth ambitions in the region.”

Sexeny arrived to his new role following eight years in senior sales positions with New York Life affiliate Cornerstone Capital Management. Most recently, he served as head of business development and investor relations at the New York-based equities shop. 

His background in institutional sales extends back to the early 1990s, where he led distribution and marketing for Boston Global Advisors. Prior to that role, Sexeny spent nearly a decade at State Street.

At AXA IM, he will report to Americas Head Xavier Thomin out of the US headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut. Thomin praised Sexeny’s “considerable experience and trusted relationships,” remarking that he will be “pivotal as we continue to expand our footprint in this important region.”

The firm’s heavy resource investment in the US has delivered some new business this year. A domestic reinsurer selected AXA IM for a $397 million investment-grade fixed income mandate, and it won an $82 million ticket from a San Antonio public pension fund.

AXA IM is far from the first major European fund manager to seek fresh clientele across the pond. Legal & General Investment Management—a market leader in the UK corporate pension space—set up an American outpost selling liability-driven investing (LDI) products in 2006. Since then, the firm has acquired a substantial target-date fund business (Global Index Advisors) and gathered $48 billion in US assets, $26 billion of which belong to its LDI operation. 

Worldwide, AXA IM manages roughly €607 billion ($760 billion) in client assets. 

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