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Carl “Pepper” Whitbeck

Fund Manager: Carl “Pepper” Whitbeck

Classification: Debt/Bond

Company: AXA Investment Managers

Company Profile

AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) is an active global asset manager with assets under management totalling over €534 billion as at September 2013. AXA IM is ranked as the 16th largest asset manager in the world and is wholly owned and supported by a major international leader in financial protection, the AXA Group.

We provide investment products and solutions for a range of institutional investors (including public and private pension funds, insurance companies, corporates, non-profit organisations and sovereign wealth funds), distributors (wholesale and retail) and family offices around the world.
Our multi-expert business model is composed of the following investment platforms: fixed income, equity, alternatives, and multi-asset client solutions. Designed to deliver customized and optimal investment solutions for our clients, our multi-expert model is globally supported by 2,100 dedicated professionals across 22 countries.

AXA Fixed Income

€376bn fixed income assets, €210bn credit assets, more than 100 investment professionals With approximately €376 bn in fixed income AUM, fixed income is a strategically important asset class for AXA IM, accounting for approximately two thirds of our total assets. We manage fixed income assets across the risk spectrum (government, inflation, investment grade credit, high yield and emerging market debt) for a wide range of institutional, retail and insurance clients around the world. Our global fixed income team is structured along two main investment lines: “Interest Rates” and “Credit”. This structure aligns the bottom-up and top-down aspects of market analysis with a rigorous and robust system of risk management, geared to providing attractive, risk-adjusted returns and promoting consistency of performance. We have local teams in Continental Europe, the UK, the US, and Asia, managing a wide range of strategies - from core domestic fixed income portfolios to specialist products at the forefront of innovation. Each regional team is able to leverage off the global shared resources of AXA IM while providing localized client servicing and relationship management, designed to meet local client needs:

 AXA IM has been managing US high yield strategies since 2001 and has a proven and highly successful investment approach to managing portfolios, linking our top-down views to an active bottom-up investment process. This approach has been thoroughly tested in a wide array of market environments. AXA IM, Inc. managed over $32 billion in our US High Yield strategies next to $25.8 billion in US Investment Grade Credit as at September 2013.


We believe that an active bottom-up investment process will produce superior investment results over time. Our US short duration high yield strategy is unique in that it only invests in securities with expected maturities of 3 years or less. Due to the inefficiencies of supply/demand and credit seasoning within the short duration portion of the market, it provides a unique combination of potential return with diminished risk. First, the bulk of natural investor demand in US high yield is in the 5-10 year part of the curve, where the new-issue market is most active. This demand triggers a natural supply of shorter duration secondary ‘seasoned’ issues from more established high yield companies.

This slight imbalance creates opportunities to add exposure to companies with established credit records, many of whom would be higher-rated if they came to market today, at attractive yields and expected returns. Historically, US short duration high yield portfolios have had a yield that is over 70% of the yield on the BofA Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II, which represents the broad US high yield market, with only 30% of the duration exposure. Exploiting this inefficiency has been the foundation of the strategy which has consistently performed at or above the broader US high yield market with roughly 40% of the return volatility.


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