Hayes takes over Axa Sterling Corporate Bond fund

Nick Hayes, the manager of the Axa Sterling Strategic Bond fund, has taken over the £130m Sterling Corporate Bond fund from Theo Zemek.

Zemek, the group’s global head of fixed income and a member of the Axa Investment Management board, has handed Hayes the mandate to focus on her management role.

As a result, the former co-head of fixed interest at New Star who joined Axa in 2007, no longer runs any retail funds for the group.

Hayes, also formerly of New Star, joined Axa in June last year and has managed the £45m Axa Strategic Bond fund since. He says there will be no major changes to the Sterling Corporate Bond portfolio as result of him taking over, describing the way it is run as a team process.

Julie Lamirel, who was back-up manager to Zemek on the fund, will continue to assist Hayes.

In February next year Hayes will be handed his third retail mandate when the group launches the Global Strategic Bond fund and he says he expects there to be a large amount of overlap between the three funds.

In terms of the corporate bond fund, he says: “The fund is maintaining its small overweight to investment-grade credit as we think it is cheap in this low-yield environment. Companies are in better shape now than they were going into the 2008 crisis.”

Meanwhile Hayes says the team expects no interest rate hikes in the UK in 2012, although there could be some additional quantitative easing

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