AXA IM Prime in €430m first close for debut secondaries infra fund

The vehicle is targeting €1bn to focus on LP- and GP-led transactions as well as select co-investment opportunities.

AXA Investment Managers Prime – a €35 billion unit of European insurer AXA Group that focuses on private markets and hedge funds – has reached a €430 million first close for its debut secondaries infrastructure fund, affiliate title Infrastructure Investor understands.

The 10-year closed-end vehicle is targeting €1 billion to focus on LP- and GP-led secondaries as well as opportunistic co-investment opportunities to help diversify the fund, a source familiar with the fundraising said. It will invest globally, with a particular focus on North America and Western Europe.

AXA IM Prime declined to comment on the fundraising.

The source told Infrastructure Investor the strategy will focus on taking secondaries positions on funds that are nearly deployed, to get visibility on the underlying assets’ track record and minimise performance volatility. This should also help accelerate distributions. When it comes to co-investment, it is understood the strategy will look to capitalise on the energy transition and digital infrastructure mega-trends that are driving the asset class.

To date, about one-third of the commitments received have been deployed across a total of five investments, giving the fund’s LPs exposure to over 100 underlying assets, the source said. AXA Group’s decades of activity as a primary investor and co-investor, including its longstanding commitments to infrastructure managers, are expected to provide strong sourcing opportunities for the inaugural secondaries fund.

The fund is part of AXA IM Prime’s Diversified Infrastructure Equity strategy, led by Jean-Pascal Asseman, head of infrastructure at AXA IM Prime. Asseman has more than 25 years of infrastructure investment experience across direct, primaries, secondaries and co-investments. He served as head of infrastructure investments at AXA Group until January 2023.

AXA IM Prime, which is an acronym for ‘private markets enabler’, boasts a team of 85 across London, New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan and Tokyo. It is led by chief executive Pascal Christory, former CIO of AXA Group, who managed the group’s private debt, private equity and infrastructure equity strategies for many years.

In December, Christory told Secondaries Investor he saw infrastructure secondaries as a less crowded space compared to private equity secondaries, adding that the infrastructure team will initially focus more on GP-led secondaries than LP portfolios.

Infrastructure secondaries are attracting record interest, with 30 percent of respondents to Infrastructure Investor’s LP Perspectives 2024 Study (registration or subscription required) believing that the current environment will provide attractive opportunities to buy – the highest figure ever recorded.