BNP Paribas Cardif Life has hired Gregoire Picquot as chief investment officer for Asia Pacific to replace Arnaud Miroudel, who has moved to a role at the insurance firm’s headquarters in Paris.

Picquot, who started in his new position on May 28, was previously China region CIO at rival French insurer Axa. That role has been added to the remit of Boris Moutier, Axa’s Asia CIO, sources told AsianInvestor.

Declining to confirm whether Moutier's role had changed, an Axa spokesman said Moutier is Asia CIO, covering Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand.

Across its life and property-and-casualty businesses in Asia, BNP Paribas Cardif has about €7 billion ($8.3 billion) of assets under management (AUM) in its general account and €11 billion in unit-linked products. The firm has €226 billion in AUM globally.

Gregoire Picquot

Picquot now oversees an investment team of about 60 people across the firm’s five Asia businesses (China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam).

His switch to BNP Paribas Cardif comes as Axa undergoes a restructuring, following leadership changes in the past year or so. Axa named new chiefs for Asia and Hong Kong last year – Gordon Watson and Etienne Bouas-Laurent, respectively.

Meanwhile, global CEO Thomas Buberl in November announced plans to cut costs and give more autonomy to local managers.

CAREER AND INDUSTRY BACKGROUND

Picquot had been China region CIO at Axa since July 2016 and before that was head of group asset and liability management based in Paris. He joined Axa in March 2009, before which he worked for Credit Agricole, Natixis and BNP Paribas Asset Management.

Miroudel had been Asia-Pacific CIO at BNP Paribas Cardif Life since July 2013 and has been at the firm since January 2007, and has also worked for Axa, according to his LinkedIn page. AsianInvestor could not ascertain what his new position would be.

BNP Paribas Cardif and Axa are not the only insurers making key changes to their management and investment teams in Asia. 

The industry has been under pressure in recent years amid a squeeze on profits and the continued challenge of meeting liabilities in the prevailing low-interest-rate environment and in light of tightening risk-based capital rules.

One upshot was that several insurers underwent big staff shake-ups in Asia last year, with a view to improving investment capabilities and cost efficiency. The firms in question include Hong Kong-based AIAUK group Prudential, and Singaporean firms Great Eastern and NTUC Income.