French fund house Axa Investment Managers has lost its Asia-Pacific chief executive, Simon Flood, just six months after he took up the role, AsianInvestor can confirm.
Flood’s appointment as CEO had been announced in July last year as Axa IM sought to accelerate its expansion in the region, as reported.
His mandate was to grow the firm’s third-party assets through geographic expansion, client segmentation and strengthening of its product offering.
Flood had taken up the role officially on August 1 last year in Hong Kong, reporting to Laurent Seyer, global head of Axa IM’s client group. However, a senior source said he left the firm last week amid a disagreement over strategy.
When approached by AsianInvestor, a spokesperson for Axa IM said: “We can confirm that Simon Flood has for personal reasons decided to leave Axa IM in order to return home to New Zealand.
“We would like to thank him for the significant contribution he has made to our continued growth in Asia Pacific and wish him all the very best for the future.”
The spokesperson added that Bruno Guilloton, shareholder representative for Asia for the past seven years, would take up the role as head of Asia Pacific. He is board member for all of Axa IM's Asian entities and in his new role will continue to oversee the firm's relationship with its joint ventures in Shanghai, Seoul and Mumbai.
Guilloton joined Axa IM in 1999 as head of equities, managing a team of 21 people. From 2000 to 2002 he was CEO of Axa IM Tokyo, leading the merger with Axa Rosenberg Japan. In 2002 he became Asian regional director for Axa Rosenberg and Axa IM. From 2005 to 2008 he was global head of internal audit.
Prior to joining Axa IM Guilloton was head of equity fund management at Credit Mutuel Finance for five years, before which he worked for a decade at Banque Indosuez as a financial analyst and portfolio manager. He was appointed joint head of equity management at Indosuez Asset Management in France.
Flood had transferred from Singapore to join Axa IM last year. He had come in to replace Jean-Pierre Leoni, who returned to Paris to lead the firm’s client management group from September 1 in a newly created role.
Leoni spent nearly five years in Asia, having become head of Asia Pacific in late 2009, replacing Anthony Fasso, who is now with AMP Capital Investors.
Axa Investment Managers underwent changes last year. It moved to build out a retail funds offering across Asia, boosting its fund count in Hong Kong and talking up plans to develop more Asian products via its regional investment team, as reported.
It also hired Jim Veneau as Asia head of credit earlier last year as well as fixed income portfolio manager Christy Lee, boosting its Asian fixed income team to five.
It came after the firm moved its fixed income team from Singapore to Hong Kong in October 2013 as part of a drive to centralise its investment capabilities.
A New Zealander, Flood spent 15 years in London and then five in Hong Kong before moving to Singapore in 2009.
Prior to Axa IM Flood worked as chief investment officer of Lion Global Investors, a role subsequently taken on additionally by CEO Gerard Lee. Flood left Lion Global in June 2013.
Before that he served as executive director at Imprimatur Capital in Hong Kong for two years. From 1990 to 2006 he held investment roles at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, including as head of Asia-Pacific ex-Japan.
Axa IM saw its assets under management sourced from Asia grow 12.3% last year to $36.8 billion, according to AsianInvestor’s annual ranking of the region’s biggest 100 fund houses. That represents 4.8% of its $766 billion in global AUM, pushing it up six places to 53rd on our Asia list.
Flood could not be reached for comment as AsianInvestor went to press.